Travellers may soon be able to fly non-stop to Australia, after Qantas announced plans to launch a direct service between London and Perth by 2017. The 19-hour, 14,670-kilometre journey would be possible using the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Qantas recently confirmed orders for eight of the aircraft, to be delivered within two years.
“The 787- 9 has the range to operate such a route,” Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO, told Air Transport World. “This opens up direct services from Australia to Europe for the first time.”
The route would become the world’s longest scheduled commercial flight, easily surpassing the current record-holder, the 13,800-kilometre, 16-hour-and-55-minute slog from Dallas to Sydney, also operated by Qantas.
But concerns about the safety of flying non-stop from London to Perth have been raised.
Should an emergency require the plane to land elsewhere, it may have to continue a further 2,090 kilometres to Adelaide, the nearest major airport to Perth. In addition, the flight would be required to carry two pairs of pilots and additional cabin crew.
The Aussie airline may face a rival in the ultra long-haul stakes, however.
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Singapore Airlines this week said it was planning to resume flights between the Asian city state and New York – a 15,345-kilometre odyssey that was the world’s longest flight until its discontinuation in 2013.
The route will use the new long-range Airbus A350-900. Singapore Airlines will receive the first of 63 A350-900s next year, and hopes to relaunch the epic service in 2018.
“Our customers have been asking us to re-start non-stop Singapore-US flights and we are pleased that Airbus was able to offer the right aircraft to do so in a commercially viable manner,” said Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong.
There are a couple of other ultra long-haul routes in the pipeline.
Emirates plans to launch a direct service from Dubai to Panama City in February 2016 - a 13,825-kilometre journey that will take 17 hours and 35 minutes. Air India, meanwhile, is to begin flights between New Delhi and San Francisco in December, a 12,345-kilometre schlep that will take around 16 hours.
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This article was written by Oliver Smith from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.