23 OCTOBER 2017
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First steps towards plans by Qantas to bring Australia within non-stop flying distance of the UK took place last week as the airline unveiled its first Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner, named Great Southern Land.
The aircraft, which will have a three-class configuration, was hailed by officials as the "game-changer” that will open up new routes, signalling the "start of an exciting new era for the national carrier".
Qantas announced plans 10 months ago to launch a London – Perth non-stop operation beginning in March 2018 (BTN 12 December 2016), following up last summer by trailing a London – Sydney non-stop “within the next five years” (BTN 28 August).
Greeting the new arrival last week, CEO Alan Joyce said: “From the distance it can fly to the attention to detail we've put into the cabin design, it will reshape what people expect from international travel.
"The Dreamliner makes routes like Perth – London possible, which will be the first direct air link Australia has ever had with Europe. And it means other potential routes are now on the drawing board as well".
Eight B787-9s will be delivered to Qantas by the end of 2018, with Melbourne – Los Angeles the second of the two routes so far announced. Additional services from Brisbane have also been flagged.
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