Qantas has announced it will fly non-stop flights from Australia to Rome from the middle of next year.
From the end of June 2022, Qantas will operate the only direct service between Australia and continental Europe, flying three return Sydney-Perth-Rome flights per week to meet demand over the European holiday peak season.
The new flight will cut more than three hours off the current fastest travel time to Rome using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with cabins designed specifically for long haul travel.
In 2018 Qantas started non-stop flights from Perth to London, a flight of 14,500km.It suspended the service when Covid-19 hit but has this year resumed London flights, now flying from Darwin.
The airline says passengers will be able to combine its Rome flights with its double-daily direct flights between Australia and London, meaning they will be able to fly in and out of different cities on one return ticket through to October 2022.
It says the Rome service will also give passengers another option for reaching onward destinations across the Mediterranean and southern Europe through Qantas’ airline partners.
The flight distance from Perth to Rome is around 13,400km.
Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said strong travel demand since borders re-opened had given the airline confidence to explore new destinations as travellers look to make up for lost time.
“We’ve seen amazing demand on our direct service from Perth to London and on our new services to Delhi from Melbourne and Sydney. These are exciting destinations and there’s strong evidence the pandemic is making non-stop flights between Australia and the rest of world even more desirable as we learn to live with the virus and its variants,” said Joyce.
Italy is the largest market for us in continental Europe for people visiting family and friends from Australia.
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“After the restrictions of the past few years, it’s the ideal time to reinvigorate our international network and we’ll continue to look for new opportunities.”
In another sign of the danger of New Zealand’s international tourism sector being at risk of being left behind, the new route is expected to entice more visitors to Western Australia. Qantas will partner with Tourism Western Australia to boost inbound tourism from Europe into Perth and regional WA.
“Australia’s global reputation as a friendly, safe and unique destination is already an enormous tourism drawcard,” Joyce said.
Qantas recently started new flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi and re-started a number of existing routes from Sydney and Melbourne to destinations including Los Angeles, London and Singapore.
The seasonal Rome route will operate from June 22 until October 6.
In this country border restrictions and MIQ requirements mean flights are limited.
Trantasman flights are due to resume in mid-January when restrictions ease for Kiwis.Long haul travel from New Zealand is unlikely to start until mid-February when Kiwis can return from other countries other than Australia.
Non-New Zealanders will be unable to return until May but under current settings must self-isolate for seven days, effectively killing off hopes of tourism recovering.
Air New Zealand plans to restore parts of its United States long haul network from the first part of next year and has its sights on a non-stop flight between Auckland and New York in October.
Qantas has plans to revive its ‘Project Sunrise’ from 2024, with non-stop flights between both Sydney and Melbourne to New York, London and Paris.
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