From June 22 next year, Qantas will operate a Sydney to Rome via Perth return flight three times a week, cutting three hours off the current fastest route.
The new route is set to complement the reinstatement of its Perth to London non-stop direct flight, expected to take off in April.
It comes days after the state of Western Australia (WA) announced it would ease its hard border controls and reconnect with the rest of the country, and the world, on Feb. 5, 2022, after almost two years of isolation.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said strong travel demand since the reopening of borders had given the company confidence to explore new destinations.
“We’ve seen amazing demand on our direct service from Perth to London,” Joyce said. “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 Qantas in continental Europe for Australians visiting family and friends, Joyce said.
“We think customers will love flying direct to one of the world’s great cities to spend time with loved ones or enjoy Italy,” he said.
Tickets for the new Sydney-Perth-Rome route are already on sale from $1,785 (US$1,271) return on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which is designed specifically for long haul travel.
“Direct flights connecting Perth with Rome will be a game-changer for WA’s economy as Western Australia safely re-engages with the world,” WA Premier Mark McGowan 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 visitors from Italy flew to WA and spent an estimated $29 million (US$20.7 million).
“Today’s announcement by Qantas could not have come at a more exciting time as we prepare to welcome the return of international visitors to Western Australia in 2022,” Tourism Minister David Templeman said.