Last September, Qantas announced a significant change to the non-stop Perth to London flight, suspending Australia’s only non-stop flights to the UK, citing Western Australia border settings, which Premier Mark McGowan then stated would not open until April 2022.
Qantas was quick to reroute the flight from Darwin to London while it awaited the reopening of Western Australia.
Qantas announced that beginning in June 2022, and to leverage on the finest time of year to visit Europe, it will operate the only direct service between Australia and Italy.
From June 22 to October 6, 2022, the route will fly three times per week through Perth, utilising the airline’s Boeing 787, and will be the only direct service between Australia and continental Europe.
The Rome service will also give customers another option for reaching onward destinations across the Mediterranean and southern Europe through Qantas’ network of partners.
Until now, Qantas’ only European destination was London via Darwin. According to the airline, the new route will cut more than three hours off the current fastest travel time to Rome.
The airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce, stated that the new route would help to meet the increased demand for international travel since borders reopened on November 1. Still, the announcement comes when the Omicron variant is taking hold around the world.
In New South Wales, 1360 cases were reported overnight, while more than 1400 cases were reported on Wednesday in Victoria.
“We’ve seen amazing demand on our direct service from Perth to London and our new services to Delhi from Melbourne and Sydney,” Mr Joyce said in a statement.
“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.
“Italy is the largest market for us in continental Europe for people visiting family and friends from Australia, and we think customers will love flying direct to one of the world’s great cities to spend time with loved ones or enjoy Italy.
“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.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan has welcomed the new Rome route, saying it will open up the Western Australia tourism industry to vaccinated overseas visitors.
“Direct flights connecting Perth with Rome will be a game-changer for WA’s economy as Western Australia safely re-engages with the world,” he said.
“These new flights, together with our Reconnect WA Plan, will help diversify our economy and help support new jobs in our tourism and hospitality sector.
In 2019, an estimated 11,100 Italian visitors visited WA, injecting $29 million into the economy.
On Wednesday, the WA Government will start a new advertising campaign aimed at visitors, students, investors, and skilled migrants, the first phase in the previously stated $65 million marketing strategy to promote the State’s reconnection with the world.
The announcement comes as the Qantas restarted flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi after more than a decade.