Qantas makes giant non-stop leap on ‘kangaroo route’

QANTAS is adding another string to its bow of aviation firsts by launching the first point-to-point non-stop flights between London and Australia – a 17-hour connection.

Qantas will operate non-stop flights from Perth to London using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The 14,498km service will be the first regular passenger service to directly link Australia with Europe when it begins in March 2018.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the history-making route would be a watershed for travel, tourism and trade. 

“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,” Mr Joyce said.

“This is a game-changing route flown by a game-changing aircraft. Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before, so the opportunities this opens up are huge.

“It’s great news for travellers because it will make it easier to get to London. It’s great news for Western Australia because it will bring jobs and tourism. And it’s great news for the nation, because it will bring us closer to one of our biggest trade partners and sources of visitors.”

In 2015, Qantas operated a one-off B747-400 charter flight from Perth to Istanbul to take Australians to the Centenary of Anzac at Gallipoli – the last time the national carrier flew from Australia to Europe non-stop.

Mr Joyce said passenger comfort on the long flight was a key consideration in the airline’s planning.

“When we designed the interior of our B787s, we wanted to make sure passengers would be comfortable on the extended missions the aircraft was capable of,” he said.

“That’s why we have features in our Economy seats that other airlines reserve for Premium Economy. Our Business Suite has been nicknamed ‘mini First class’ by many of our frequent flyers. And we’re redesigning our on-board service to help reduce jetlag.”

Mr Joyce said the enhanced Qantas cabin design is in addition to the comfort factors that Boeing built in to the Dreamliner – improved air quality, lower cabin noise and technology to reduce turbulence.

Mr Joyce said the direct route is expected to appeal to travellers on the East Coast as well as West Australians, helping to deliver a tourism boost.

“A direct flight makes travelling to Australia a much more attractive proposition to millions of people,” Mr Joyce said. “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.

“Our modelling shows that people from the East Coast as well as South Australia would fly domestically to Perth to connect to our non-stop London service. Some will take the opportunity to break their journey, whether it’s for business meetings in Perth, to holiday or to visit family.”

The new flight will operate through Qantas’ existing domestic terminals (T3/4), which will be upgraded to accommodate international flights. The airline’s current international services from Perth (to Singapore and to Auckland) will also move to this terminal, helping to simplify the journey for thousands of people every year.

Qantas will move its operations to an expanded Terminal 1 at Perth Airport by 2025, pending a commercial agreement.

“We’ll be looking at the timing of our domestic flights through Perth to offer the best connections we can to our international flights, particularly given they will all be under the one roof,” Mr Joyce said.

“I’d like to acknowledge the support of the West Australian Government and Perth Airport in helping make this service a reality.”

Australian Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, Steven Ciobo said, “With a range of around 15,000 kilometres, the Boeing 787 has the potential to open even more non-stop destinations with which Australia has never been connected.

“The United Kingdom is Australia's third largest source market for international visitors. More than 660,000 tourists came to Australia from the United Kingdom in the last year, spending $3.7 billion.”

Seats on the Perth-London flights will go on sale in April 2017 for the first services in March 2018. The B787-9 Dreamliners used on the route will carry 236 passengers across Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabins.




Fines for drones over bushfires

FLYING drone aircraft near bushfires in now an offence.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had announced it can issue fines for flying a drone in a way that puts aircraft at risk – and those fines can be as high as $900 on-the-spot and up to $9000 of the matter goes to court..

A CASA spokesman said in bush fire locations where aircraft often fly at low altitudes, drones can be a serious safety hazard – with helicopters most at risk. 

Drones flown near bush fires are also likely to force aerial firefighting activities to cease, setting back fire operations and putting the public at greater risk, the CASA spokesperson said.

Drones cannot be flown closer than 30m to people and property and must never fly over crowds of people, according to CASA. Drones must be kept in sight at all times, cannot be flown at night and must never be flown near other aircraft.



Cessna Citation Latitude lands in Australia

HAWKER PACIFIC has conducted Australian and New Zealand demonstrations tour of the new ‘flat floor’ Cessna Citation Latitude jet.

The Cessna Citation Latitude is the first business jet to combine a wide, flat-floor, stand-up cabin and internet equipped interior with a midsize price, according to Hawker Pacific’s Tony Jones. 

Mr Jones said the Citation Latitude was leading the way in business flying and boasted advanced features.

“The Cessna Citation Latitude boasts the most spacious, refined cabin in the midsize jet category providing more space for business productivity,” Mr Jones said.

“With the latest cabin technology, enhanced performance and excellent value proposition this jet is leading the way for the future of business flying.

“We are delighted to be touring the Cessna Citation Latitude across Australia and New Zealand and demonstrating its advanced features and exceptional capability to potential buyers.”

The Cessna Citation Latitude's spacious cabin features legroom and storage space to accommodate long business trips for up to nine passengers.  Passengers can stay connected on board with standard Wi-Fi and cabin comfort is managed by touch screen controls. 

Twin Pratt and Whittney turbo fan engines deliver the Citation Latitude’s impressive performance which includes short runway take off capabilities. Garmin avionics offer  pilots the comfort and information they need for a reliable and efficient flight.

The advanced airframe design features an electronic 31-inch entry door and also incorporates lightweight composite materials for the nose radome and fairings.

Hawker Pacific is the sales representative of Cessna’s manufacturer, Textron Aviation.

Hawker Pacific is a market leader in integrated civil and military aerospace sales and product support in South East Asia, Australia, the Pacific and the Middle East and is one of the largest independent companies of its type in the region with over 600 employees. 

Hawker Pacific represents some of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers, including Textron Aviation which makes Cessna and Beechcraft, Bell Helicopter, Diamond Aircraft and Mahindra Aerospace and provides service support for a wide range of manufacturers.  Hawker Pacific is also a primary dealer in used aircraft with networks to source, acquire and trade aircraft globally. 

The Hawker name dates back to the World War One AFC and test pilot, Australian Harry Hawker, whose name was adopted by British aircraft pioneer Tommy Sopwith for new models developed for World War Two and beyond.




Govt study to help general aviation take off?

THE Australian Government has begun a major study into general aviation (GA) in Australia which aims to remove barriers to growth.

The study will cover regulatory and cost issues affecting the sector and the government is calling on representatives of the general aviation sector to contribute to the discussion. 

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said the study would identify priorities for general aviation (GA) in the future.

“General aviation has a rich history in Australia and I’m confident it can have a prosperous future,” Mr Chester said. “This study will help get the public policy right to support growth in the sector.

“The study, to be conducted by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), forms an important part of the government’s response to proposals from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and The Australian Aviation Associations Forum (TAAAF).

“As part of the response, I can confirm that CASA will be undertaking a review of the private pilot medical requirements — an area that I know has been a key issue for the GA sector.

“The BITRE study will cover a range of issues, including assessing the key drivers and influences on the sector,” Mr Chester said.

“That means identifying trends, what the economic, demographic, and regulatory factors behind these trends are, as well as outlining the key challenges facing the industry.

“Representatives from the general aviation sector will be offered the opportunity to assist with this work.

“I will be requesting that the General Aviation Action Group, which was formerly a sub-group of the Aviation Industry Consultative Council (AICC), report directly to me in future,” Mr Chester said.

“The Action Group will also act as a reference group for the BITRE general aviation study.

“I am looking forward to seeing the results of this study as we work with industry and other key stakeholders on the common goal of a safe, growing and sustainable Australian general aviation industry,” Mr Chester said.