The era of the ultra, ultra, long-haul flights is about to dawn with Qantas’ dream of flying from Sydney to London non-stop getting the go-ahead from Boeing and Airbus.
Qantas’ chief Alan Joyce told AirlineRatings.com that both Boeing and Airbus can meet the airline’s challenge of an aircraft capable of flying from New York to Sydney non-stop with 300 passengers.
Boeing is proposing a tweaked version of its Boeing 777-8X while Airbus is pushing a similarly tweaked version of its A350 aircraft that Singapore Airlines has ordered.
What is not clear is how much each aircraft beats the 300 passengers mark and what the economics will be.
“Both will be bit different but will have enough seats to make it economical,” said Mr. Joyce
However, according to Mr. Joyce, the Airbus A350 is “more adaptable” being lighter for routes to Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
However, in the longer term, the 777-9X would be a better A380 replacement analyst suggest so commonality becomes an issue.
“Our teams are working the pros and cons which gives us the best overhaul business case.”
Mr. Joyce added however that both Airbus and Boeing keep “coming back with more seats and more capability.”
The A350 or 777-8X would be used on Melbourne and Sydney to London and New York as well as destinations such as Chicago.
“It is a two-horse race and we are telling them there is a lot to play for, said Mr. Joyce.
However, Qantas also has some hurdles to cross with a modified pilot agreement to crew the aircraft.
AirlineRatings.com understand that the operation will require an additional set of pilots to a total of 6.
“We are having very constructive dialogue with the pilots on modifying the EBA,” said Mr. Joyce.
There are also regulatory issues that have to be ticked off for the operation.
Mr. Joyce said that an RFP will be issued and he expects that to be completed by end of FY19 with the delivery of the first aircraft in 2022.
Qantas’ enthusiasm for the service is buoyed by the tremendous success of the Perth to London Boeing 787 non-stop which is achieving an incredible 92 percent load factor and 95 percent in premium classes.