Australian airline Qantas wants to start a 20-hour flight between London and Sydney and will be placing orders for planes that would be capable of that sometime next year.
The company was in advanced stages of negotiations with the plane makers Airbus and Boeing, said the company’s Chief executive Alan Joyce in a television interview with the BBC.
He said that if the plane makers were able to develop and deliver the right aircraft, Qantas could start the flights as early as 2022
There are also plans of the airline to begin non-stop flights to North America from Australia which would be of a little shorter duration compared to the Sydney to London non-stop flight.
Joyce was confident that the long haul flight to London would have significant demand among fliers.
“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.
A non-stop flight connecting London to Perth was started by the airline in March. The flight time of that route is just a bit over 17 hours. The flight has been quite popular among fliers since it was launched with average occupancy being about 92 per cent over all while there was 94 per cent occupancy in the business class.
However, currently there are no such planes that are capable of flying non-stop for 20 hours between Sydney and London, he said.
While the Airbus A350-1000 is top on the list for Qantas for the long haul flight, the company said that there is need for some “modification” to the place because it “needs a little bit more range to get there”.
The company is also looking at the 777-8 aircraft of Boring which is a modified version of the Boeing 777 plane which is anticipated to be ready for delivery by 2022.
Qantas would also start operating non-stop flights to New York if the non-stop flights that are being now planned can be launched, Joyce said.
“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.
There are also other airlines that are planning to start long non-stop flights.
Singapore to Newark, New Jersey non-stop flight would be launched by Singapore Airlines in October. That would be an almost 19 hour flight.
Currently, the longest non-stop flight available is one operated by Qatar Airways which is of 17.5 hours between Auckland and Doha.
(Adapted from BBC.com)