First direct London to WA flight arrives

Angie Raphael
AAP

The first group of travellers to fly non-stop to Perth from London have arrived in the West Australian capital looking more refreshed than usual after a long-haul journey.

The 17-hour Qantas Dreamliner service is now the fastest way to travel to Australia from Europe and is the airline's longest flight at 14,498km.

The aircraft made its maiden voyage from Perth on Saturday and left from London on Sunday.

Asked if he felt jet lagged, American passenger Gary Tarter said he felt pretty good.

"We love aviation so we wanted to do this," Mr Tarter told reporters.

"We knew it was a very historic flight so the second it became available, we decided to book it."

British passenger Clyde Edwards said he also booked his ticket so he could be part of aviation history.

"I've got a couple of friends in Perth anyway, so I'll catch up with them," he said.

The travellers were greeted with an Aboriginal welcome to country and given a pack including a toy quokka and sunscreen.

They've also been offered a free trip to Rottnest Island, which the WA government has been spruiking hard as it looks to tourism to boost the ailing economy.

Tennis champion Roger Federer has taken a selfie with the island's resident quokkas and Thor star Chris Hemsworth is reportedly in talks to be the next face of the campaign.

Margot Robbie recently posted her own quokka selfie on Instagram, which attracted 1.8 million likes.

While recent data showed a lift in Rottnest tourism, WA recorded Australia's only fall in overseas traveller numbers over the past year.

But key industry figures are buoyed by the new direct flight and the prospect of more to come, with Perth Airport chief executive Kevin Brown saying the facility had plenty of capacity for more routes.

Tourism WA chairman Nathan Harding said the organisation would work with Qantas to develop at least one more direct route, likely Frankfurt or Paris, within the next few years.

Mr Harding also said 15 per cent of travellers who had booked the direct London flights were stopping over in Perth to spend three or more days.

Meanwhile, Qantas has challenged Airbus and Boeing to produce an aircraft capable of flying direct from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York.

If both can do it, the airline will call for tenders next year and place an order, with the aircraft likely to be ready by 2022.