QANTAS TODAY ANNOUNCED that it will launch the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight, with passengers spending 19 hours in the air traveling from Sydney to London by the end of 2025.
After five years of planning, the airline said it was ordering 12 Airbus A350-1000 planes to operate ‘Project Sunrise’ flights to cities including London and New York.
Non-stop flights will start from Sydney in late 2025, it said, and then long-haul trips are planned to include Melbourne.
“New types of aircraft make new things possible,” Qantas chairman Alan Joyce said in a statement.
“The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just a flight away from Australia,” he said.
“It is the final frontier and the final solution to the tyranny of distance.”
Qantas operated research flights for the long-haul route in 2019, including a 17,800-kilometre (11,030-mile) London-Sydney test trip, which took 19 hours and 19 minutes.
A New York-Sydney test flight in the same year covered 10,200 miles (16,200 kilometers) and took just over 19 hours.
Singapore Airlines currently operates the world’s longest nonstop commercial flight from Singapore to New York, covering 16,700 kilometers (10,400 miles) in just under 19 hours.
Qantas already operates a 14,498-kilometre Perth-London trip that takes 17 hours.
“Unsurprisingly, the cabin is specially designed for maximum comfort on long-haul flights,” said Joyce.
Qantas said the new A350 plane would be configured for 238 passengers with first-class suites offering a separate bed, recliner and wardrobe.
It promised roomier budget sections and a “wellness zone” designed for “movement, stretching and hydration.”
Airbus set the price of the A350-1000 at 366.5 million dollars (348 million euros) in its 2018 catalog, the last one it published.
Qantas said it was also ordering 40 A321 XLR and A220 aircraft from Airbus.
In addition, it purchased options for a further 94 of these aircraft through the end of 2034.
A220 models were priced between $81 million (€77 million) and $91.5 million (€87 million) in 2018. The A321 was introduced after Airbus stopped publishing list prices.
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Qantas said the full cost of the deal was a matter of commercial confidence, although it said it had taken a significant discount off the aircraft’s standard price.
“The A320s and A220s will become the backbone of our national fleet for the next 20 years, helping to keep this country moving,” said Joyce.
The newest plane would cut emissions by at least 15% if it runs on fossil fuels, and more if it uses sustainable aviation fuel, he said.
“We have come through the other side of the pandemic as a structurally different company,” the airline chief said.
“Our domestic market share is higher and the demand for direct international flights is even stronger than before Covid.”
The A350-1000 planes will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan engines, designed to be 25 per cent more fuel efficient than the previous generation of planes, Qantas said.
– © AFP 2022