Australian oneworld alliance memebr Qantas has resumed seasonal flights direct from Perth to Rome, marking the return of the popular route for the second year running, just in time for the European summer.

The flights will operate three days per week with the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft until October 3, offering more than 22,000 seats between Australia and Italy over a four-month period.

The route remains the only direct flight between Australia and continental Europe offered by any airline.

Qantas has also confirmed it will operate the service for a third year, with flights for 2024 to go on sale in early July.

Qantas International CEO Cameron Wallace said the airline was pleased to be carrying Australians direct to Rome for another summer in Europe.

“Our Perth – Rome route was one of the most popular across our international network last year and bookings show that it’s shaping to be that way again,” said Wallace.

“We also saw many customers using Rome as a gateway to continental Europe, connecting onwards with our network of partners, with Sicily, Athens and Barcelona being amongst the top destinations last year.

“The route is fantastic for tourism operators across Western Australia, not just because of the influx of visitors we’ve seen from Italy, but also because it promotes Perth as a stopover for Australians travelling to Europe from the east coast.

“One of the trends we’ve seen emerge post-COVID is that preference for direct flights is higher than ever. Strong customer demand for our long-haul international routes has given us the confidence to commit to a third season in 2024.”

Customers can connect from Rome to 16 destinations in Europe including Geneva, Nice and Madrid and 14 destinations within Italy including Milan and Venice.

A “circle fare” also allows Qantas customers to fly into Rome and return to Australia from London on the one ticket.

Customers travelling in business class from Rome to Perth will be offered limited-edition Qantas amenity kits, launched in partnership with Tourism Western Australia, featuring the artwork of Western Australian Wongi artist Kevin Wilson.

The re-launch of seasonal Rome services comes as Qantas returns to more of the destinations it operated to pre-Covid, made possible by the delivery of new 787-9 aircraft in recent weeks.

Qantas this week returned to New York for the first time in more than three years with the launch of inaugural flights from Sydney via Auckland, and it returned to San Francisco last month.

Three times per week flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong also resumed this week.

The Qantas Group is expected to return to around 100 per cent of its international network pre-Covid capacity by March 2024, up from around 85 per cent of pre-Covid levels today. This is a significant increase from just 45 per cent 12 months ago.

Qantas operates 15 domestic routes to, from and within Western Australia and three international routes from Perth to Singapore, London and Rome. The airline operates year-round daily services from London (787-9 Dreamliner) and Singapore to Perth (Airbus A330).