The Australian carrier plans to order aircraft capable of making the 20-hour journey
After successfully launching 17-hour flights between Perth and London, Qantas is aiming to deliver the longest non-stop flight possible. According to their chief executive officer, Alan Joyce, the carrier is looking for a plane that could endure a 20-hour flight between Sydney and London.
Joyce told the BBC that he was discussing options with both Airbus and Boeing and claimed that the order might take place next year, with the service launching by 2022 if the right aircraft can be delivered.
He claimed he was confident there would be demand for the service.
“Business traffic and general leisure customers would rather have the certainty of getting there direct, not having to stop, not having connections gone wrong, the extra speed that that entails is really important,” he said.
If the non-stop flights — nicknamed Project Sunrise — take place, Joyce said the airline would start flying non-stop to New York as well.
“Qantas is unique because we can probably justify a large number of these long-haul aircraft, given how far Australia is from the rest of the world,” he said.
The carrier is considering various options for aircraft to operate the flight. The Airbus A350-1000 is one of these. However, the long-range aircraft would require “modification” because it “needs a little bit more range to get there”.
Boeing 777-8s, a new version of the 777, are under consideration as well. The plane should be ready in 2022.
The longest non-stop flight is currently operated by Qatar Airways. The journey from Auckland to Doha takes 17.5 hours. As the crow flies, Qatar’s route is roughly 60 kilometres longer than the leg between Perth and London.