The announcement came after the WA Government ended an impasse with Qantas and agreed to help fund an upgrade of the terminal. Premier Colin Barnett said the state would contribute $14 million for capital works at the airport, to be used for the construction of quarantine and Australian Border Force infrastructure.
Qantas wanted the non-stop service to operate out of a domestic terminal, rather than the new international terminal, to make it easier for passengers with connecting flights.
Mr Joyce said the new route was “amazing news” for Perth and Australia and was a “watershed for travel, tourism and trade”. “This is a ground-breaking aircraft, on a ground-breaking route for Qantas,” he said. “From Melbourne and Sydney and all other destinations in Australia, it will save you an hour going through Perth compared to Dubai or Singapore or other destinations.”
Mr Joyce said the aircraft was specially built for the long journey. Mr Barnett described the deal as “game-changing” and said the local economy could potentially benefit to the tune of more than $36 million per year.
Qantas chief executive officer, Alan Joyce, said: “Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before, so the opportunities this opens up are huge. When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops. Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop.”
It is anticipated that the service will boost tourism to Western Australia. The UK is Australia’s third largest source of overseas arrivals with approximately 660,000 Britons visiting last year.