Airbus Determined to Beat Boeing to Help Qantas Fly London to Sydney Non-stop

May 21, 2019

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Airbus have publicly confirmed their intent to win the battle against rival Boeing in providing new aircraft for Qantas to launch the world’s longest flight between London (LHR) and Sydney (SYD), non-stop.

Dubbed ‘Project Sunrise’, the Australian carrier has been negotiating with both Boeing and Airbus for some time to develop an aircraft with a potential range longer than any commercial plane is currently capable of with a full payload. The world’s longest flight is currently held by Singapore Airlines with its non-stop service between Singapore and Newark, a distance of almost 10,000 miles. Singapore Airlines operate an Airbus A350-900ULR (Ultra Long-Haul) aircraft on this route.

Image courtesy of Zach Honig / The Points Guy.
Singapore Airlines A350-900ULR Premium Economy class. Image courtesy of Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

While Qantas do already operate non-stop flights from the UK to Australia, they are by using a Boeing 787 aircraft service from London to the Western Australian city of Perth, a flight of around 9,000 miles so noticeably shorter than the Newark flight.

If launched, London to Sydney (or Melbourne), non-stop would be more than 10,500 miles, likely longer than the current capabilities of both the Boeing 787 family and the Airbus A350-900ULR with a fully passenger and cargo payload.

So Qantas are looking to both of the world’s leading long-haul aircraft manufacturers to push the range of their new aircraft even further to manage the prized ‘Kangaroo route’ which Qantas currently operate with an Airbus A380 with a refuelling stop in Singapore. Speaking at the Airbus Innovation Day in Toulouse France, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer signalled the company’s intention to beat arch rival Boeing to provide the aircraft to make a new record for flight distance, by saying “we have the determination, motivation and ability to serve Qantas on Project Sunrise”.

Qantas have so far said they expect to announce the winning manufacturer by the end of this year. The airline also intends to use the winning aircraft type on non-stop flights from Sydney to New York.

Featured image by JT Genter / The Points Guy

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