There’s Finally a Direct Flight Between Europe and Australia

March 23, 2018, 10:42 AM UTC

Qantas flight QF 9 is almost ready for takeoff.

The Australian airline will launch its nonstop route between Perth and London’s Heathrow airport on Saturday. While the 17 hour 20 minute flight will not be the world’s longest, it will take the title of the first commercial route to directly connect Australia and Europe.

Qantas’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes will carry 236 passengers on the 9,010 mile route. The flight is only out-distanced by a nonstop flight between Auckland, New Zealand and Doha, Qatar, offered by Qatar Airways. That flight, which takes approximately 17 hours 40 minutes, covers 9,032 miles.

Both of these routes may soon be dwarfed by a proposed nonstop flight between Singapore and New York, a distance of 9,521 miles, which could take up to 19 hours.

The Perth-London flight will be the first in a series of planned long-haul flights for Qantas that the airline hopes to roll out by 2022. The airline has challenged both Boeing and Airbus to build a jet that can fly nonstop between cities on the east coast of Australia and London or New York.