Australian airline Qantas is planning to add the world’s longest non-stop flights to its route network by the end of 2025. The flights are to connect Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York on the East Coast in about 19 hours. In the future, it may also head to Frankfurt or Paris, as can be concluded from the airline’s presentation on Monday.
The airline has ordered twelve Airbus A350-1000 ULR aircraft for this purpose. A test plane took off from a factory in Toulouse on the Mediterranean coast of France to Perth in Western Australia in 16 hours. Qantas has also ordered 20 A220 and 20 A321XLR for domestic connecting flights.
Airline boss Alan Joyce said with the so-called ‘Project Sunrise’ a solution has finally been found to the “tyranny of distance” that has traditionally made travel to Australia so difficult. New generation aircraft will open completely different possibilities in the future.
Fewer seats, more space
In the future, the Qantas Airbus A350-1000 with ULR will carry 238 passengers in four classes (First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy). For ultra long halls, fewer seats than usual will be provided. Other airlines use the same type of aircraft on shorter routes of up to 400 passengers.
“The cabin is specially configured for improved comfort on longer flights, and includes a center comfort zone and premium economy and more spacious seating in the economy cabin,” Qantas said. There should also be some kind of wellness zone where eco-travellers can walk and stretch their legs.
four hours left
Ticket prices for a non-stop flight will be slightly higher than for today’s connections with stopovers. The time remaining in Europe is about four hours. For the US it is about three hours.
Qantas had already tested a non-stop connection of about 17,700 km from London to Sydney in late 2019 with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The flight lasted 19 hours 19 minutes. The route was actually supposed to be included in the program in early 2022, but the coronavirus pandemic and long border closures delayed the project.
Singapore Airlines currently offers the longest non-stop scheduled flight: it has been connecting Singapore with New York since 2018. These machines cover a distance of 15,300 km in just 18 hours. (of)