December 11, 2016 / 7:28 AM / 3 years ago

Qantas to fly non-stop from Australia's Perth to London

Groundstaff work on the tarmac next to Qantas Airways planes parked at Sydney's Domestic Airport terminal in Australia, November 8, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s national carrier Qantas Airways Ltd will launch the first regular passenger flight directly linking Australia and Europe when it begins flights from Perth to London with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, the airline said on Sunday.

“When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops,” Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce told a news conference in Perth.

“Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop.”

Flights on the 14,498 km (9,000 mile) route will begin in March 2018.

Federal Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo said Qantas would use Perth as a hub for passengers from eastern Australia going to Britain, and the service would boost employment and tourism.

Britain is Australia’s third-largest source of international visitors with more than 660,000 people coming from there to Australia last year, and spending $3.7 billion (2.9 billion pounds), Ciobo said in a statement.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners used on the route will carry 236 passengers, Qantas said.

Reporting by Peter Gosnell

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