Qantas: We Need A Bigger Plane
The CEO of Qantas has challenged Airbus and Boeing to build an airliner that could fly nonstop from Sydney to London with a full payload, by 2022. “This is a last frontier in global aviation,” said Alan Joyce, in an address to investors on Friday. “The antidote to the tyranny of distance. And a revolution for air travel in Australia.” A direct flight would last about 20 hours, about four hours less travel time for a journey to London than today’s flights, which require a fuel stop in Asia or the Middle East. New airplanes now in development can “almost do the job,” Joyce said – the Boeing 777X and the Airbus A350ULR. Both have adequate range, but not with a full load. “We believe advances in the next few years will close the gap, and Qantas has the unique operational experience to be the airline that helps make it happen,” Joyce said. “This would be one of the most strategically important aircraft orders in the history of Qantas.”
Joyce said he is calling the campaign “Project Sunrise,” a nod to the legendary Double Sunrise flights operated by Qantas across the Indian Ocean during World War II. “They remained airborne long enough to see two sunrises in what was an incredible feat of endurance given the technology of the day,” he said. Joyce said he has written to the CEOs of Boeing and Airbus to extend the challenge to them.