Sydney to London Flights by 2022, Says Qantas CEO

6th Apr 2017

Qantas could start offering non-stop flights between Sydney and London within the next five years. The plan for a new long-range commercial flight was revealed by the airline's Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce, who said the capabilities of the new Airbus and Boeing plane models should make this possible.

For example, Sydney-London flight is some 9,600 nautical miles and the Airbus A350 900ULR has a range of 9,700 nautical miles, or just little under 18,000 kilometers. The other option for Qantas will be the Boeing 777-8.

Joyce said:

"These aircraft, we think, are potentially real goers on these routes," the Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, said, referring to the A350-900ULR and the bigger but less advanced Boeing 777-8. You know from what they have done on other aircraft that Sydney-London and Melbourne-London has real possibility."

According to industry sources, Airbus A350-900ULR could fit over 250 passengers on the Sydney-London route. That's 80 more than Singapore Airline's New York-Los Angeles flights.

On the other hand, Qantas' second option Boeing 777-8 is not yet in service (it should be starting the next decade) and would be capable of carrying more passengers than the A350-900ULR ? 280. However, take this with a small grain of salt, since Boeing has not yet revealed the configuration details of the plane.

Up until recently, it seemed that the B777-8 will be Qantas' aircraft of choice for ultra-long haul flights, but the A350-900ULR has entered the competition recently as well.

With these planes, the 20-hour flight should be financially viable, but that is only if the oil costs don't go too much over the $70 per barrel mark.

Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at Teal Group also agrees with this estimate, saying:

"In terms of economics, much depends on fuel prices. If they stay at $50 a barrel or less, it should be possible to keep costs reasonable. But as fuel goes up, the disadvantages of flying a very heavy plane begin to make ultra-long haul problematic."

Qantas is really pushing for longer routes recently, as it has also earlier announced that it will start non-stop flights between Perth and London next year. The biggest Australian carrier will use the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the 17-hour flight.