The airline wants to close the “tyranny of distance” between Australia and global financial hubs like London and New York.
Alan Joyce, chief executive of the Australian flag carrier Qantas, says a 20-hour non-stop London-Sydney service could be in the skies within four years.
The airline wants to close the “tyranny of distance” between Australia and global financial centres like London and New York by 2022.
Earlier this year, the airline completed the first direct scheduled flight between the UK and Australia. Flight QF9 touched down in London on March 26 after its 14,500 kilometre journey from Perth.
That 17-hour flight though to south-west Australia now looks set to be eclipsed by a 20-hour non-stop journey from Sydney on Australia’s south-east coast, TTG reports.
The barrier to ultra-long haul has been the ability to keep an aircraft in the air for an extended period of time. But Joyce says the airline is “comfortable” it has the vehicle to do it, he told Bloomberg.
Codenamed Project Sunrise, Qantas has been challenging Boeing and Airbus to create aircraft capable of such long distances.
London-Perth is currently operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, but Joyce says a 20-hour flight would require an aircraft configured to fly around 300 passengers and their luggage with enough fuel in hand for headwinds and emergencies. Airbus’s A350 and Boeing’s 777X are options, he added.
The world’s longest route is currently Qatar Airways’ daily Doha-Auckland service, a few kilometres further than London-Perth.
However, Singapore Airlines is planning to start a direct Singapore-New York service, which would beat this by more than 800 kilometres.