Around the world in 20 hours – new jets make it possible says airline chief.
Qantas has revealed plans for a 20-hour, non-stop flight between Sydney and London. The airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, recently challenged planemakers to develop jets capable of flying ultra-long routes from Sydney by the early 2020s. He’s convinced they’ve done it.
“We’re now comfortable that we think we have vehicles that could do it,” Joyce said in an interview. “I’m actually confident that it will get there and we will have aircraft in 2022.” Qantas’ Project Sunrise aims to fly non-stop between Australia’s east coast and London, Paris and New York by 2022.
Joyce said Qantas was looking at new ways to configure cabins to maximise comfort on the marathon flights. Childcare facilities, workout areas and bunk beds could be considered. “We’re challenging ourselves to think outside the box,” he said. “Boeing and Airbus have been quite creative in coming up with ideas.”
Qantas launched non-stop flights between Perth and London in March, providing the first direct air link between Australia and the UK. Some passengers praised the route while others struggled with 17 bum-numbing hours in the air. In April a Dreamliner made the “downhill run” from London in just 15 hours, 45 minutes.
Singapore Airlines recently announced it would restart non-stop flights from Singapore to New York by the end of the year. At 19 hours, it would become the longest plane journey, trumping Qatar Airways’ current 18-hour flight from Auckland to Doha.