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One of Qantas‘ most popular routes between Perth and London is finally back, two years after Covid border restrictions forced its indefinite closure. 

Qantas flight QF9, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with 236 passengers on board, landed at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning, local time, after 17 hours in the air – one of the world’s longest commercial routes. 

The Perth to London service was halted in early 2020 amid the Covid outbreak and was slower to return than other similar routes thanks to Western Australia‘s strict border laws. 

The airline is also gearing up to establish a QF5 direct route between Perth and Rome, with the first flight scheduled for June 22. 

Qantas flight QF9 with 236 passengers left Perth for London on Monday night, marking a return of one of the world's longest commercial air routes

Qantas flight QF9 with 236 passengers left Perth for London on Monday night, marking a return of one of the world’s longest commercial air routes

Qantas celebrated the return of its flagship Perth to London route on Tuesday (pictured)

Qantas celebrated the return of its flagship Perth to London route on Tuesday (pictured)

‘With one of our flagship London routes heading back to Perth and the Rome take-off just around the corner, it’s clear that Western Australia is back on the international travel map,’ a Qantas spokesperson said.

Western Australia’s border delay frustrated many who were locked out of the state, but it enraged Qantas boss Alan Joyce when Premier Mark McGowan backflipped on a February 5 lifting of border restrictions over concerns about the Omicron variant.

‘There isn’t a plan for when that’s going to open up. It’s starting to look like North Korea,’ Mr Joyce told 3AW Radio a day before the cancelled re-opening.

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‘We’re supposed to all be Australians, but you can’t even travel around your own country,’ he said

‘The fact that we can travel to London but we can’t travel to Perth, I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with the federation.’

Australians could finally enter WA quarantine-free after restrictions were lifted on in March (pictured: soccer star Kosuke Ota of the Glory and his family register their arrival into WA on flight on March 3)

Australians could finally enter WA quarantine-free after restrictions were lifted on in March (pictured: soccer star Kosuke Ota of the Glory and his family register their arrival into WA on flight on March 3)

Mark McGowan previously declared he’d be ‘turning Western Australia into an island within an island, our own country’ when he shut the border on April 5 2020.

He later promised to open once 90 per cent of the state was vaccinated but instead said it would be ‘reckless and irresponsible’ to do so with the emergence of Omicron.

WA’s hard border eventually crumbled on March 4, 2022, to the joy of many reunited families.

Then opposition leader and new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was on the first plane into Perth, having been criticised for leaving NSW as the state was smashed by record floods.

‘I want to represent the whole country. I make no apologies for keeping my commitment to the people of Western Australia that I would visit, and that I would visit on day one,’ he said. 

WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured with his family in Rockingham) backflipped on a February 5 reopening of his state's border amid the Omicron wave

WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured with his family in Rockingham) backflipped on a February 5 reopening of his state’s border amid the Omicron wave 

The resumption of the Perth to London route will be a huge relief for Qantas with the airline battered by travel restrictions. 

The airline reported a $2billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2020, down from an $840million profit the previous year.

It also put 6000 jobs on the chopping block as it struggled to stay afloat, while competitor Virgin Australia only survived thanks to a buyout by US private equity firm Bain Capital. 

But the struggles aren’t over for the airline yet with customers regularly complaining of cancelled flights and staggeringly long customer service wait times as the airline gets back on its feet.

‘I would make a booking if your customer service even answers the phone,’ one frustrated traveler wrote to Twitter. 

The message accompanied a screenshot of a call to the airline showing they’d been on hold for six hours. 

Qantas boss Alan Joyce (pictured) previously likened WA's hard border to North Korea

Qantas boss Alan Joyce (pictured) previously likened WA’s hard border to North Korea 

‘And yet we have been moved off your Sydney to London flight hours before take off,’ one person wrote under the airline’s post about the Perth to London route’s return.

‘Fab….Give me back my frequent flyer points you voided and I might fly QF9 again,’ another person wrote.

Earlier this month, economy class passengers on board a Qantas flight from Sydney to London were informed just 15 minutes before touchdown that their luggage had been left behind in Darwin.

Qantas apologised to the passengers saying recent airport repairs meant luggage was offloaded during refuelling in the Northern Territory.

The luggage didn’t arrive in the UK until three days after passengers had landed.

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The airline is hoping such issues won’t be a problem from 2025 with Australians able to travel to London, Paris and New York on non-stop ultra long-haul Qantas flights from Sydney.

Qantas has purchased 12 new planes for direct flights between Sydney and Europe with the first class suites will offering passengers something akin to a hotel room in the sky (pictured)

Qantas has purchased 12 new planes for direct flights between Sydney and Europe with the first class suites will offering passengers something akin to a hotel room in the sky (pictured)

The no-stopover trips have been worked on under the codename Project Sunrise for a number of years. 

A new order of 12 Airbus A350-1000s wide-body aircraft has been placed to service the routes.

‘It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance,’ CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement.

‘The cabin is being specifically designed for maximum comfort in all classes for long-haul flying.’

The new planes are 25 per cent more fuel efficient than previous generation aircraft and will carry 238 passengers in four classes, including first, business, premium economy and economy, and have a ‘wellbeing zone’ in the centre.

The first flight is due to take off from Sydney by the end of 2025.

The new planes will also have a  'Wellbeing Zone' that will offer healthy snacks and areas to stretch, walk and exercise within the plane's cabin (pictured)

The new planes will also have a  ‘Wellbeing Zone’ that will offer healthy snacks and areas to stretch, walk and exercise within the plane’s cabin (pictured)

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