In a historic moment for the aviation industry, a new direct flight from the UK to Australia has taken off today.
Qantas re-purposed a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft for the route, which took off from London Heathrow and is heading for Sydney. (It took off with a 47-minute delay).
The flight is expected to take around 19.5 hours in order to cover the 17,800 km distance, with around 50 passengers and members of crew on board.
It marks the second time in history that a commercial airline has flown direct from London to the Australian city.
The first time was also a Qantas route in 1989, when the airline operated a 747-400 ferry flight between the two cities.
In fact, this still holds the record for the world’s longest commercial flight, having been in the air for 20 hours and 9 minutes. (Aviation enthusiasts can see the very plane at the aviation museum south of Sydney).
The London Heathrow-Sydney route is part of a series of tests ‘Project Sunrise’, the airline’s venture to operate regular, direct commercial flights from Australia’s eastern coast to London and New York.
As part of the venture, earlier this year Qantas hosted the world’s longest Dreamliner flight , which broke records after touching down after nearly 20 hours in the air between New York and Sydney.
While the Heathrow-Sydney flight is over 1,500 kilometers further than New York to Sydney, the duration is expected to be similar due to prevailing tail winds between the two cities.
The airline will also be testing another flight between New York and Sydney in December.
There’s no denying that there could be big changes coming for passengers who want to fly from the UK to Australia.
In fact, UK flights to Australia could take just four hours thanks to a new engine currently being researched, that could travel up to five times the speed of sound.