Ultra long haul flight of fancy?


SKY’S THE LIMIT: Qantas
has adapted its menu for
all classes of travel (inset)
SKY’S THE LIMIT: Qantas has adapted its menu for all classes of travel (inset)

QANTAS AMONG AIRLINES LOOKING FOR PLANES TO CLOSE ‘TYRANNY OF DISTANCE’ PLANEMAKERS gave a glimpse of the ultra-long-distance jets of the future last Sunday (3) as they work to meet a demanding goal from Australia’s Qantas to connect Sydney and London in a non-stop 20-hour flight. As global airline leaders gather for an annual confer­ence in Sydney, Qantas is looking to close the tradition­al “tyranny of distance” be­tween Australia and global fi­nancial centres like London and New York by 2022. This year, Qantas began non-stop flights between Aus­tralia and Europe by linking Perth and London. It is now considering an order for ultra-long jets with the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X in contention. “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 chief execu­tive Alan Joyce said ahead of an International Air Transport Association meet in Sydney. 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. “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,” Airbus chief commercial officer Eric Schulz said. Airbus’ first customer for the ultra-long range A350- 900ULR is Singapore Airlines. Last week it said it would launch 19-hour flights from Singapore to New York in Oc­tober and has ordered seven of the jets, which carry more fuel than a typical A350-900. Qantas has not said how many ultra-long haul jets it will order, but Joyce believed it could be a “reasonable-sized fleet” given that poten­tial routes include Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to London, New York and Paris or Frankfurt. The Australian carrier is al­so looking…

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