The first non-stop flight from Australia to the UK landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday morning, completing the 9,009 mile journey from Perth Airport in just over 17 hours.

Operated by a Boeing 787-9, the flight reduced travel time by taking advantage of favourable winds without having to factor in layovers in the Middle East or Asia when choosing a flight path. The plane carried over 200 passengers and 16 crew members, and took off just before 7pm on Saturday evening.

“This is a truly historic flight that opens up a new era of travel. For the first time, Australia and Europe have a direct air link,” said Alan Joyce, CEO of the Qantas Group, who was one of the passengers on the inaugural flight. “The response to the flight has been amazing, both for the attention it’s received since we announced it and the bookings we’ve seen coming in.

“It’s great for Australian tourism, for business travellers and for people visiting friends and family on both sides of the world.”

The plane was designed to improve comfort for passengers and crew for the ultra-long haul journey. The cabin air pressure was also made equivalent to that of an altitude of 6,000ft, lower than the conventional pressure of equivalent to 8,000ft, to make the interior of the aircraft more comfortable.

“This is hands-down the most comfortable aircraft that Qantas has ever put in the sky,” said Joyce. “Boeing designed the Dreamliner with features to reduce jetlag, turbulence and noise. We’ve taken that a step further with our cabin design, giving passengers more space in every class as well as bigger entertainment screens and more personal storage.”

The Boeing 787-9 also uses up to 20% less fuel and produces 20% less nitrogen oxide than other aircraft of a similar size. The aircraft also carried 110,000 litres of fuel, significantly less than the 150,000 litres a Boeing-747 would need for a much shorter 10-hour flight.

The flight was the second-longest in history, following Qatar Airways’ 9,028-mile route from Doha to Auckland, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Airbus is currently refining its A350 model, which will have a range of 11,160 miles, potentially allowing for a non-stop flight from London to Sydney.