Boeing 787-9 Laning Photo: Mitchul Hope

MIAMI — The first direct flights between mainland Australia and the United Kingdom have been a major success, according to a report published by Geoffrey Thomas at The West Australian.

Over the first six months of operation, there has only been one upset to the schedule, due to a mechanical problem. It caused a bit of a headache for two days, apart from that everything has gone smoothly.

Photo: BriYYZ

The flights have also been arriving between 30 minutes to an hour early on average, with some of these flights being quicker than the approximate 17 hours the flight is meant to take.

The fastest outbound flight occurred on July 20, taking 16 hours and 23 minutes, while the fastest inbound flight occurred recently on September 22, taking 15 hours and 34 minutes.

The load factors have been splendid, with an average load of 92% per flight.

Premium classes also have an average load of 94%, which is the highest percentage for Qantas, overall.

No other route comes close out of its whole international network.

The airline currently has six of its original order of eight Boeing 787-9s, with the remaining two set to arrive before the end of 2018.

Photo: John Taggart

The next six planes, which the airline ordered earlier this year, will arrive between late 2019 and late 2020.

These new Dreamliners will pave the way for the airline to retire its classic fleet of Boeing 747-400s, putting an end to the airline’s 50-year history with the Queen of the Skies.

Qantas operates the 787-9 from Melbourne to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London. 

The Dreamliners also operate from Brisbane to Los Angeles and New York. In December 2018, Qantas will start using the 787 from Melbourne to Hong Kong as well.

A Qantas spokesman has said the brand new 787s are “exceptional.”

Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO has recently said: “With a larger fleet of 787s, the airline will be looking at destinations in the Americas, Asia, South Africa, and Europe.”

Never Enough: More Range Needed

But even though the Perth – London route is doing well for Qantas, recently Joyce said that he is interested in a longer-range aircraft that would enable the airline to fly straight from Sydney to London.

Qantas has been looking at the Airbus A350-900ULR variant that Singapore Airlines launched on flights from Singapore to New York.

Picture from Airbus.

Qantas has also expressed some interest in a ULR version of the A350-1000. The European planemaker said that this variant is a possibility.

The 777-8X is also a likely candidate for Qantas. The plane comes with a higher capacity than that of the A350-900ULR.

Alan Joyce confirmed that the carrier was in talks with Boeing but was only seeking details about the weight of the aircraft, which is still months away from entering into production.

Joyce said that he was confident that Boeing could meet challenges within the specific weight recommendations.