Monday 3 June 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 3/6/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Image: Getty Images

Aviation / Nic Monisse

New ultra-long-haul flights will send Perth’s prospects soaring

My hometown, Perth in Western Australia, is by some metrics the world’s most isolated city. The flight from Melbourne to Perth takes four hours; from Sydney, it takes five. To get from Perth to Europe, you needed to take multiple planes until 2018, when Qantas introduced a direct route to London. That’s why the Australian flag carrier’s recent announcement that it will operate more ultra-long-haul flights from Perth by 2031 is significant. The news follows a commercial agreement between Qantas and Perth Airport, which will invest AU$5bn (€3bn) in the construction of a new runway and terminal, expected to be completed by 2031. It will be transformative in many ways.

For a start, major metropolises such as New York will suddenly be in direct reach, potentially reducing point-to-point travel time by up to four hours. Being based in London and not having to change aircraft in the Middle East completely changed my perception of the physical distance between me and my hometown. According to a Deloitte study, the first year of the London-to-Perth route contributed AU$59.1m (€36m) to the latter city’s economy and added more than 500 jobs. There was a similar effect when a direct flight was introduced to Rome in 2022; this will soon be followed by one to Paris, which will be in service by July, adding 75,000 seats to and from Europe every year.

All of which shows the power of connecting far-flung cities with long-haul flights. This is why the Australian flag carrier seems to be bullish about Perth. “It gives us confidence in our strategy to ramp up flying over the next few years as we receive new aircraft and grow our fleet in Western Australia,” said Qantas’s CEO, Vanessa Hudson, after the announcement of the deal. “We have a pipeline of growth under way that will mean that Perth is on track to become our second-biggest international gateway behind Sydney.” It’s news that could soon turn this sleepy city into a globally connected metropolis.

Nic Monisse is Monocle’s design editor. For more opinion, analysis and insight subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings


China’s fuzzy soft-power tactics pander to the US public

Despite recent tensions in the South China Sea, China’s decision to resume its panda diplomacy with the US is a sign of warming relations. The announcement by the US first lady, Jill Biden, that two bears – Bao Li and Qing Bao – will be transported to a Washington zoo by the end of this year came on the heels of the first face-to-face meeting between the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, and China’s defence minister, Dong Jun, at this weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Image: Reuters
Image: Reuters

Beijing had decided to withdraw its pandas from various US zoos after Joe Biden said that he would defend the Philippines in the event of a Chinese attack. The return of this cuddly soft-power tradition shows that China is ready to do what it takes to improve declining foreign investment.

Fashion / Saudi Arabia

Global airlines tap designers for high-fashion rebrands

There has been a collective return to elegance in the skies in recent years, with carriers around the world forging partnerships with fashion labels to introduce smarter uniforms for their crew. Take New Zealand Air, which worked with London-based Kiwi designer Emilia Wickstead, and Iberia, which tapped Spanish creative director Teresa Helbig to refresh its crews’ outfits. Riyadh Air is the latest airline to invest in its appearance, collaborating with Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi to create uniforms that marry high fashion and functionality. The airline’s new look will be unveiled during Haute Couture Week in Paris at the end of June. “I’m proud to be working with an innovator who understands Saudi Arabian culture and can capture the essence of our brand,” says Riyadh Air’s CEO, Tony Douglas. As the start-up carrier prepares for its first flight next year, the new uniforms will play a key role in shaping its image.

Image: Laurent Kronental


A beaux-arts Paris icon will reopen in time for the Olympics

The Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées has just completed the first phase of its restoration ahead of the 2024 Olympics. The iconic glass-and-steel structure has hosted many events since its construction for the Universal Exhibition in 1900. But it had weathered periods of neglect, with some areas closed off to the public. Led by French studio Chatillon Architectes, the restoration drew heavily from archival plans and documents to preserve the building’s unique features, such as cantilevers and balconies.

The full restoration will be completed by 2025 and the initial phase has already improved capacity by allowing 60 per cent more guests in the building and increasing natural daylight. The building’s central atrium will host fencing and taekwondo events during the Olympics. While attendees to the Games will be the first to marvel at the new and improved Grand Palais, its timely restoration means that many more will be able to appreciate this beaux-arts landmark up close.

Beyond the Headlines

In print / Issue 174

Hempel is a dab hand at crafting paint. So how does it create its shades? Here’s a primer

Hempel is the 109-year-old company that owns some of the biggest brands in paint; Crown, Renaulac and Farrow & Ball. Its cutting-edge colours and coatings have been used on London’s Tower Bridge, at the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Monocle travels just north of Copenhagen to the company’s HQ in Lundtofte to find out how the Danish giant settles on shades for homes, hubs and hulls.

Inside Hempel’s airy headquarters and CEO Michael Hansen

Image: Mathias Eis

Camilla Holmberg, formulations specialist

Image: Mathias Eis

Paint samples in the Colour Room

Image: Mathias Eis

Protective clothing at the lab’s entrance

Image: Mathias Eis

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Monocle Radio / The Stack

Print matters

This week we speak with artist Michael McGregor about his book, Room Service, featuring his drawings on hotel stationery. Plus: we leaf through a magazine dedicated to street photography and Milan’s Mudec museum launches its latest biannual title.


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