Qantas’ inaugural Perth to Rome direct flight sets speed record

Headshot of Geoffrey Thomas
Geoffrey ThomasThe West Australian
The inaugural direct flight from Perth to Rome in one of Qantas’ 787s has set a new speed record.
Camera IconThe inaugural direct flight from Perth to Rome in one of Qantas’ 787s has set a new speed record. Credit: Qantas

Qantas’ inaugural non-stop 787 flight from Perth to Rome has set a new speed record with the first flight touching down in just 15 hours and 34 minutes.

The flight spanned 13,354km and arrived in the Italian capital almost an hour ahead of schedule.

QF5 took off 30 minutes late at 10.50pm on Saturday night on runway 03, tracking north-west from Perth across the Indian Ocean to an initial cruising altitude of 34,000ft.

The three-year-old 787, VH-ZNG, named Jillaroo, climbed to 38,000ft (10,363m) over Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka — before crossing the southern tip of India.

During long-haul flights, pilots increase the altitude of the aircraft with approval from air traffic control, as fuel is used and the load gets lighter.

The higher the aircraft can fly the more efficient the flight is.

Boeing’s 787 is usually able to achieve a cruise altitude of 40,000ft (12,190m) — well above most aircraft, which helps significantly in congested traffic areas such as Asia to Europe.

Once over the Arabian Sea, the crew altered course to a north-westerly direction and crossed into Oman just south of Muscat.

Flight track of QF5 (26/06/22).
Camera IconFlight track of QF5 (26/06/22). Credit: Credit Flightradar24

After a quick overfly of the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, the crew again altered course to a more westerly direction across Saudi Arabia.

At this point, a further altitude increase was made to 40,000ft as more fuel was burnt off.

The 787 tracked just south of Jordan and the famous port city of Aqaba before crossing the Gulf of Suez, Cairo and the port city of Alexandria.

Once past Alexandria the crew’s track took them over Crete and the southern tip of Greece before crossing the Ionian Sea and making Italian landfall at the famous Italian port of Brindisi.

QF5 tracked up the Italian eastern coast before turning west about 40 minutes before touchdown.

The Boeing 787 landed at Rome’s Leonardo de Vinci — Fiumicino Airport on runway 16R at 8.25am local time (2.25pm Perth time).

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails