Qantas announced more information about its planned nonstop passenger flights London–Sydney which is set to begin in late 2025.
Predicted to become the longest air link in the world, over 1,000 miles longer than the Singapore-New York flight, the current record-holder. The airline describes London-Sydney as “the final frontier of long-haul travel”.
The original plan for the ultra-long-haul flights, originally named “Project Sunrise”, was to begin in early 2023. But due to Covid and the closure of Australia’s borders for almost two years, it faced a setback.
Qantas already operates Heathrow-Perth nonstop flights, a significantly shorter distance.
If the London-Sydney link proves successful, this may open doors for nonstop flights between other city pairs currently unserved.
Alan Joyce, the chief executive of the Australian airline group, says, “Given our geography, Qantas has a long history of using imagination and innovation to overcome the tyranny of distance between Australia and the rest of the world.”
This flight promised a nonstop 10,573-mile flight and a journey of take around 20 hours southeast-bound and up to two hours longer northwest-bound.
Qantas was considering the Boeing 777X for Sydney to London and New York but has now placed an order for up to a dozen specially adapted Airbus A350-1000 jets with “fast and free” Wifi connection and “multiple fast USB-C charging ports” next to every seat.
The plane will be fitted with 238 seats in four classes. The first class will have 6 suites“designed to feel like a mini boutique hotel room with two-metre flatbed, dining table for two, separate recliner chair and a 32-inch 4k ultra-high definition touch screen TV”. the second one is Business class with 52 suites with “sliding doors for additional privacy, lay-flat bed, large dining table, bespoke lighting and 18-inch 4k ultra-high definition touch screen TV”.
Next, we have Premium economy with 40 seats and “the most generous seat pitches of any Qantas aircraft”. Compared with existing offerings, the highlight is said to be “new headrest wings” with “additional support and a sense of privacy”. Finally, the Economy class with 140 seats at a 33-inch pitch – two extra inches of legroom compared with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. The TV screen will be a large 13-inch version.
For in-flight meals, the airline is promising “specific menu items including fish and chicken paired with fast-acting carbohydrates, as well as comfort foods like soups and milk-based desserts”.
The most direct path is the “great circle” track from London to Sydney crosses around 2,000 miles of Russian airspace and passes close to Moscow. No plane initially wanted to fly on this exact route, because of weather and other factors.
In 1989, Qantas flew nonstop from London-Sydney using a Boeing 747 “jumbo jet”. The airline repeated the stunt in 2019. The first nonstop commercial flight between the UK and Australia was on Qantas between London Heathrow and Perth in 2018 by a Boeing 787.