Qantas has just announced that it will launch non-stop flights from Australia’s eastern capitals to New York and London by 2022. That is if Airbus or Boeing is able to deliver a plane capable of flying the distance.
The airline has thrown down the challenge to the world’s two largest plane manufacturers to deliver an aircraft that can fly from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to London and New York without the need for a stopover.
The Boeing 777
No aircraft flying today can cover these distances, at least not when loaded with passengers and luggage. At the moment, a Boeing 777-200LR flies the world’s longest route. Qatar Airways flies non-stop from Doha to Auckland. This is a distance of 14,529 kilometres and takes more than 17 hours.
Eliminating the Stopover
By eliminating the time taken for a stopover, Qantas claims that a non-stop flight from Sydney to London would be 20 hours, 20 minutes and to New York at 18 hours, 7 minutes. This would save three hours and 45 minutes on journeys to London and two hours and 43 minutes on journeys to New York.
Two aircraft have ranges that come close to the distance required: the long-range version the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 777X, which is currently under development.
Qantas has called on the manufacturers to extend the range of their new aircraft to make the routes possible.
In 2015, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the route was the “holy grail” for the airline, with many Qantas passengers already having New York as their final destination on flights.
While more than 20 hours on a plane may seem a long time, spare a thought for the passengers who first flew on the “Kangaroo Route” to London when Qantas launched it in 1947. Back then, the journey took four days and required seven stops!
In the ’70s this became 30 hours and four stops and in 1989 the single-stop journey was introduced.
Qantas will already have non-stop flights from Australia to London up and running next year when it launches its new Perth-London route. The first flight is set to take off in March 2018.
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