Qantas Non-stop London Service Exceeds First Year Operations Expectations

A Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner taxiing at JFK Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Shaquille Khan)

One year after commencing operation of the airline’s longest route, Qantas is heralding the London-Perth service as exceeding expectations. The CEO of the Qantas Group Alan Joyce said on Tuesday that “Almost every flight is full and (the route) turned a profit almost immediately, which is rare for new services because they have start-up costs and it normally takes time to build demand.”

Announcing the success of the first full year of operation, Qantas published a report card and the findings of independent analysis undertaken of the economic benefits the non-stop Boeing 787 service linking the U.K. and Australia has brought to Western Australia (W.A.) and the country. Highlights detailed in the report include:

– The facilitation of a $101 million increase in spending by visitors (92% of which is from international stopover passengers), with $2.3 million spent at Perth Airport alone by people passing through.
– The direct and indirect creation of 601 full-time equivalent jobs, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sector.
– The generation of over AUD$100 million in free publicity due to global interest in the service.

The West Australian newspaper reports that at a meeting with business leaders in the state, Joyce said that the service has illustrated the effectiveness of Perth as a ‘western hub’ with a number of passengers flying to Europe from the Australian east coast via the W.A. capital. Analysis of the passenger mix on the route has shown that just under 60 percent of the total passengers have been from Australia with approx. 31 percent being U.K. residents.

From an operational perspective, Joyce gave credit to the teams who have enabled the route to achieve a 99.5 percent reliability rating with only four flights canceled out of the 720 scheduled services. The route has also achieved some unintended outcomes with Joyce citing flights that have arrived in Perth an hour ahead of schedule due to a combination of favorable winds and the airline’s new flight planning system. The fastest Perth-London sector was achieved in 16 hours and 19 minutes and the fastest return clocked in at 15 hours and 15 minutes.

Qantas’ report card also gave an insight into the habits of passengers on the flights, which average 17 hours and 1 minute from Perth to London and 16 hours and 5 minutes for the return. The airline has said that over 360,000 glasses of red, white and sparkling wine have been poured and over 450,000 meals served. From an inflight entertainment perspective, ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ has been the most watched movie and “Ballers,” “Billions” and “Modern Family” the most binge-watched television programmes.

Joyce hinted at further opportunities for Perth as a hub, telling the W.A. leadership meeting that, “How much we grow the opportunity from here depends on all stakeholders working together.”

John Flett

John has always had a passion for aviation and through a career with Air New Zealand has gained a strong understanding of aviation operations and the strategic nature of the industry. During his career with the airline, John held multiple leadership roles and was involved in projects such as the introduction of both the 777-200 and -300 type aircraft and the development of the IFE for the 777-300. He was also part of a small team who created and published the internal communications magazines for Air New Zealand’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff balancing a mix of corporate and social content.

John is educated to postgraduate level achieving a masters degree with Distinction in Airline and Airport Management. John is currently the course director of an undergraduate commercial pilot training programme at a leading London university. In addition he is contracted as an external instructor for IATA (International Air Transport Association) and a member of the Heathrow Community Fund’s ‘Communities for Tomorrow’ panel.
John Flett