Qantas may be preparing to launch another ultra long-haul route from London, this time to Sydney.
According to the BBC, CEO Alan Joyce has been in discussions with Airbus and Boeing to place an order for an aircraft capable of making the 20-hour flight.
If the companies can produce such an aircraft, Joyce said the service could be launched in 2022.
Qantas is also planning to launch non-stop routes between Australia and North America, which would run shorter than the London-Sydney flight, according to the BBC.
Joyce told the BBC’s Today Programme that he was confident there would be demand for such services, saying: “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.”
The Australian airline already operates a 17-hour direct flight between London and Perth (see a review of the flight from BBT sister title Business Traveller here). Joyce said the service was on average 92 per cent full.
According to Joyce, if the planned long-haul routes prove popular, Qantas would look into launching other direct flights to destinations such as New York.
Airbus and Boeing have both been developing aircraft capable of flying long-distances. The A350 WXB – a long-range version of the dash 900 – is estimated to be able to fly up to 20 hours non-stop, while the B777-800 – due for completion in 2022 – is also being tested for ultra long-haul capability.
Singapore Airlines is using the A350-900ULR to launch a direct flight between Singapore and New York on 11 October. At 18 hours, it will be the longest flight since the airline discontinued the original service in 2013. The carrier will also launch a direct service from Singapore to Los Angeles, with a flight time of 15 hours and 45 minutes.
Qatar currently operates the longest non-stop flight with its 17.5-hour service between Auckland and Doha.