It was dubbed mission impossible — how to convince passengers to fly 17.5 hours nonstop from Perth to London and love the experience.
But the only thing “Mission: Impossible” in Qantas’ nonstop service is that the Tom Cruise movie is the most popular flick on the flight — an initiative which has smashed records for speed, reliability, and popularity.
A report card on the first anniversary of the groundbreaking Qantas nonstop service also reveals one gentleman stayed in his business-class suite the entire journey without a toilet break and that seat 56F holds the record for the most in-flight entertainment watched at 9134 hours.
Any way you slice and dice it, the Qantas Perth to London service is the airline’s stand-out performer with a load factor at a high of 94 percent,14 points above the average, and reliability at 99.5 percent with only four flights canceled, all because of technical issues.
The flight has contributed an increase of $101 million spending by international visitors to WA and 601 full-time jobs in WA.
According to Deloitte Access Economics, which was commissioned to do an analysis, international passengers stayed an average of 22.2 nights in Perth and 5.9 nights in rest of WA, while interstate passengers tended to spend fewer nights in Perth but more nights in rest of WA.
“In total, LHR-PER flight route passengers are estimated to have spent $101.4 million in Western Australia, of which $82.1 million was spent in Perth, $17.0 million in rest of WA, and a further $2.3 million spent at Perth Airport by transit passengers,” said the Deloitte report.
Australians accounted for 69 percent of the passenger cohort on the outbound flight, with 23 percent from Britain.
International passengers accounted for a higher share of passengers inbound, with 31 percent from Britain.
The service is also turning Perth into a true western hub.
“A year of operating this route shows that a hub in WA connecting Australia to the world works really well. We have people coming from the east coast to join the flight and it’s made it a lot easier for people in Europe to visit Australia.
“The new service is also attracting people from other parts of Australia to Perth to join the service, with average outbound passengers made up of 25 percent from Melbourne, 7 percent from Sydney, 6 percent from Brisbane and 4 percent from Adelaide,” said Mr. Joyce.
“There were a lot of expectations around this flight and, frankly, it’s exceeded them,” he said.
“Almost every flight is full and it turned a profit almost immediately, which is rare for new services because they have start-up costs and it normally takes time to build demand.
Qantas has put an enormous amount of effort into easing the impacts of the ultra-long-range flights and that has paid off in spades.
“It’s the longest flight on our entire network but it has the highest level of customer satisfaction,” said Mr. Joyce.
On the speed records Mr. Joyce said the airline didn’t plan to do this but “thanks to prevailing winds and our new flight planning system” some flights are up to an hour early.
Speed records have been set then beaten while reliability and satisfaction levels have grown.
“The support from Western Australia has been amazing. It’s come from all quarters, from the State Government right through to individuals using the service. We’re really pleased to be returning the favor in the form of more tourism dollars, more exposure for WA as a great place to visit, and the opportunity to turn Perth into a hub between Australia and more parts of Europe.
“How much we grow the opportunity from here depends on all stakeholders working together,” added Mr. Joyce.