The record for the longest non-stop scheduled passenger flight from a UK airport will be broken this weekend.
Qantas is launching a direct service between London Heathrow and the Australian city of Perth, taking around 17 hours to cover 9,009 miles.
This is 24% further than the UK’s existing longest route, operated by Garuda Indonesia between the west London hub and Jakarta (7,275 miles).
The first non-stop flight from Western Australia lands at Heathrow at 5.05am on Sunday, before departing for the inaugural return leg at 1.15pm on the same day.
Passengers taking advantage of the new link will save around three hours compared with the quickest existing routes, which involve stopping to change planes or refuel in the Middle East.
It will also enable quicker journeys to Sydney and Melbourne than flying via Dubai.
Qantas will use Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners for the non-stop route, with 42 business class flat-bed seats, 28 premium economy seats and 166 economy seats.
Aviation consultant John Strickland said the launch of the flights is a significant moment for the airline industry.
He told the Press Association: “It will be a further test of how successful airlines can be with ultra long haul flying and whether this delivers sufficient profitability to justify the investment in aircraft.
“Qantas will certainly be hoping to attract a higher proportion of premium customers due to the speed advantage combined with the 787’s better cabin atmosphere.”
Dreamliners boasts a number of advantages over other aircraft models, including lower cabin noise, larger windows, improved air quality and technology to reduce turbulence.
They are also heralded for their fuel efficiency, although the impact of this will be reduced by the weight of the fuel needed to fly between the UK and Australia without stopping.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has described both the route and aircraft as “game-changing”.
He said: “A direct flight makes travelling to Australia a much more attractive proposition to millions of people.
“We expect many travellers from Europe will start their time in Australia with a visit to Perth before going on to see other parts of the country.”
Qantas is attempting to reduce jet lag during the flight by offering food and drink which encourages sleep and hydration.
The new menu, being trialled on the Perth-Heathrow route, includes hot chocolate for a bedtime drink, lighter meal options such as tuna poke salad, and dishes with green leafy vegetables, cucumber, strawberries and celery.
The world’s longest regular passenger flight is operated by Qatar Airways between Doha and Auckland, at 9,025 miles.