Qantas is set to operate direct flights from Australia to Italy, the first ever between the nation and continental Europe, from June 2022 when the Flying Kangaroo resumes services to Rome.

The nation’s largest carrier last operated one-stop flights from Sydney via Singapore in 2003 and the move will mean Italians have a new connection to Australia in time for the European summer holidays.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the flights from Sydney would operate via Perth on the carrier’s fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner three times per week from June 22 until October 6.

He said 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.

Joyce said strong travel demand since borders re-opened had given the Flying Kangaroo 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,” 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 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,” he said.

Joyce said the new route was expected to entice more visitors to Western Australia and Qantas will partner with Tourism Western Australia to boost inbound tourism from Europe into Perth and regional WA, as well as promote Perth as an ideal stopover for Australians travelling to Europe from the east coast.

“Australia’s global reputation as a friendly, safe and unique destination is already an enormous tourism drawcard and adding Rome to the Qantas network means visitors will experience the Spirit of Australia before they even arrive,” he 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.

Fares for the new Sydney-Perth-Rome flights go on sale today (15 Dec) starting from $1785 return.

Qantas will also operate two ‘Points Planes’ (bookable until 21 December 2021) for Frequent Flyers with every seat in every cabin available to book as a reward seat on the inaugural flight to Rome on 22 June and on the first flight departing Rome on 23 June.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management