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Qantas prepares for world’s longest nonstop flights

August 28, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

Qantas has confirmed it is preparing to operate the world’s longest nonstop commercial flights, direct from Sydney to London and from Sydney to New York. The flights could also operate from Melbourne.

The 20-hour Sydney to London nonstop journey will take passengers straight to the British capital in the latest Airbus or Boeing airliner, depending on which aircraft manufacturer can best fly the distance.

It will be a considerably longer leg than the 17-hour Perth/London nonstop flights that Qantas will begin next March, using the B787-9 Dreamliner. That 14,498-kilometre trip will be the first regular passenger service to directly link Australia with Europe. Nonstop flights from Perth to Paris and Frankfurt are on the cards too.

The disclosure on Friday that Qantas is working towards direct flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York by 2022 indicates that Perth’s role as a major Qantas hub may enjoy a bright four-year window, beginning next year. The advent of such bum-numbingly long flights will also disclose whether passengers actually enjoy them.

Nonstop flights between London and Australia’s east coast may take a new route over the North Pole, instead of crossing over Asia and Europe as now. The flights will likely be sold at a premium. As they will trim up to four hours off the current route that includes a stop in Dubai, Qantas could apply a premium of at least 20%.

Qantas last week issued a challenge to Airbus and Boeing to give their next-generation aircraft currently under development (Airbus’ A350ULR and Boeing’s 777X) the range to make these non-stop flights possible with a full passenger load.

A direct flight would cut total journey time by up to four hours on Sydney-London and almost three hours on Melbourne-New York.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said: “From next year we’ll be flying direct from Perth to London, which is a huge leap forward. We believe advances in technology in the next few years will make Sydney to London direct a possibility and Qantas is well placed to be the airline to do it.

“Any aircraft purchase would have to meet strict financial thresholds, but these direct flights would be revolutionary for air travel in Australia.”

The Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Auckland (16,727 kilometres) is currently the longest in the world but the proposed Qantas flights would beat that.

Qantas International will take delivery of two Dreamliner B787-9s in the first half of FY18, with all eight to join the fleet by first half FY19.

Qantas retired one B747-400 in July this year with another to leave the fleet around mid-2018. A total of five older jumbos will be retired to make way for the eight Dreamliners. The remaining six extended range B747s are expected to remain until the early 2020s.

Three Fokker F100 aircraft joined the Qantas Domestic fleet in the first half of the year, providing flexibility to reduce capacity but maintain frequency on resources routes. Jetstar added two Airbus A321 aircraft to meet demand in short-haul leisure markets.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Well, Joycey made a good job of ensuring his EOFY results got widespread media, by adding this little tidbit. Ain’t gonna happen, boys and girls. Why would either Airbus or Boeing spend a motza developing an ultra long range aircraft just for Qantas to buy maybe 3 or 4. Nobody else would want them. I struggle to see Economy passengers accepting a 20hr flight and I struggle to see such a flight being economically viable once crew and fuel costs are taken into consideration. Now if Mr Joyce would only challenge the manufacturers to come up with a faster aircraft then he’d have my full support. As for the Fokker 100’s, it’s interesting that Australia now has 56 of these flying around. Not bad for a plane that ceased manufacture 21 years ago.

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