Sydney to London flights: Qantas is considering an ultra-long haul flight between the two cities
The Sydney to London direct route is thought to be on the cards after Qantas chief executive spoke at ahead of an International Air Transport Association gathering in Sydney, Australia.
Alan Joyce said: “I think we’ll get to the stage where, technically, we will know where the aircraft are going to be, in the next few months.”
Qantas is said to be keen to close the “tyranny of distance” between Australia and global financial hubs such as London and New York, with a 2022 deadline slated.
Perth and London non-stop flights have already launched, but the airline is said to be considering an order for ultra-long jets that would allow Sydney to London flights, with the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X in the running.
A purchase decision is expected next year if the plans make financial sense, Joyce explained.
Sydney London flights: Qantas considers direct long-haul flight with 20 hour journey time
Ultra-long haul flights are aimed primarily at business travellers and can allow airlines to charge a 20 per cent premium over one-stop rivals, according to industry data.
Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Eric Schulz said: “I would not pretend we would sell 1,500 airplanes like this, but I would say a reasonable assumption could be in the neighbourhood of 50-100 airplanes total.”
Ultra-long haul flights are becoming more possible thanks to new airplane technology.
Last week, Singapore Airlines announced it would launch 19-hour flights from Singapore to New York in October.
This is possible thanks to the Airbus A350-900ULR, which carries more fuel than a typical A350-900.
Sydney to London flights: Singapore Airlines will launch an ultra-long haul flight later this year
Sydney-London, however, is an even tricker journey, and Qantas wants to do it with more passengers than the 161 business and premium economy seats that Singapore Airlines plans to use on its ultra-long haul routes.
Qantas are yet to announce how many ultra-long haul jets it will order, with Joyce simply saying it would be a “reasonable-sized fleet”.
Potential routes for the airline include Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to London, New York and Paris or Frankfurt.
Perth-London has sold better than expected, particularly in premium cabins, Joyce said, with the economics working even with oil at prices hitting $75 a barrel.
Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said the airport was considering the construction of special arrival lounges to cater to the expected increase in passenger numbers thanks to the ultra-long haul flights.
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He explained: “At the moment, 70 per cent of the world’s population is reachable from Sydney on one direct flight.
“Once those aircraft come to market the entire population of the world will be reachable in one flight. It is just an amazing step change in aviation.”
To help passengers prepare for their long journey, Qantas is offering pre-flight yoga classes to Perth-London passengers in its lounge.
They have also adapted their menu offering in all classes onboard.
Singapore to New York flights with Singapore Airlines will launch on 11 October, and the route will be served three times a week before daily operations commence from 18 October.