Perth to bellissimo

The only direct service between Australia and continental Europe took off late last month, with Qantas’ Perth to Rome flights greeted with much fanfare on both sides of the landmark ultra-long-haul flight.

ORIGINALLY unveiled by Qantas in late 2021, there were times earlier this year when the Italian service looked in jeopardy, thanks to WA Premier Mark McGowan’s backflip on a plan to open up his state to travel. Qantas warned WA at the time that hard borders could result in Perth missing out on direct London and Rome flights, but ultimately sanity prevailed and the Flying Kangaroo jaunted off as planned in June bound for the Italian capital, somewhat ironically with McGowan on board.

Qantas now operates three flights a week from Sydney to Rome (via Perth), with Qantas passengers able to take advantage of a “circle fare”, allowing them to fly into Rome and return to Australia from London on the one Qantas ticket.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the Rome flights where another important part of the airline’s broader plan to directly link popular long-haul destinations in Europe and the United States to Aussies using faster and more efficient aircraft. 

A recent study commissioned by Qantas also showed that Australian traveller’s preference for point-to-point travel is higher than it was before the pandemic, with the appeal for direct flights from Australia to London increasing from 45% to 59%.

“We’re seeing an increasing preference for a non-stop flight to and from Australia to make the travel experience as efficient and easy as possible and we expect that will be a permanent shift in the way people want to travel,” Joyce said.

“Our flights from Perth to London are heavily booked, we’ve fast-tracked the return of our A380 fleet which will free up our 787s to operate new routes including Melbourne to Dallas, and we’re deploying A330’s to other new destinations including India and South Korea later this year,” he added.

Qantas first commenced services from Sydney to Rome in 1948 as part of its seven-stop Kangaroo Route to London, and from the early 1990s the carrier flew its ‘Queen-of-the-skies’ Boeing 747 twice a week until 2003 when direct services were suspended during the SARS pandemic.

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