Qantas will beginning flying its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in December 2017.
Australian airline Qantas is known for operating some of the world’s longest flights. After all, it takes a while to get down to Australia from practically anywhere you start. A fact that Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce calls, “the tyranny of distance.”
However, the airline one-upped itself with the announcement last April that it intends to begin flying non-stop from Perth to London starting in March 2018.
The new flight will not only be the airline’s longest, clocking in at 17 hours and 20 minutes, but it will also be the world’s first regularly scheduled non-stop passenger route between Europe and Australia, replacing the airline’s historical multi-stop “Kangaroo Route” between the two regions.
Qantas has been waiting for the delivery of a new aircraft capable of flying that time and distance. With the delivery of its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner this week, myriad new routes are now within reach for the airline. As Joyce put it, “We’ve been waiting 97 years of our history for this aircraft.”
Qantas’s first 787-9 is the 615th Boeing Dreamliner to roll off the production line and is the first of eight that the airline will receive between now and November 2018, though it has options to purchase 45 more 787s in the future.
The airline asked the Australian public to help name it, and after sifting through 45,000 suggestions, Qantas decided to call it “Great Southern Land.”
The 787-9 is the first new type of plane to join Qantas’s fleet since the airline began flying its Airbus A380 double-decker jets in 2008, and will eventually replace some of its Boeing 747-400s. Here’s what the first one looks like.