Stopovers may soon be a thing of the past if Qantas has its way with its new range of planes.
Already holding the record for the world’s longest direct flight with its daily Dallas-Fort Worth to Sydney service, Qantas is aiming to increase this feat by connecting the UK and Australia direct by 2017. With the Dallas-Fort Worth to Sydney flight taking 17 hours and covering 13,968 kilometres, the new UK connection would add an extra hour, taking 18 in total and travelling a distance of more than 14,000 non stop.
Crossing eight time zones, the future longest commercial flight would use the latest Boeing 787-p Dreamliners to fly between Perth and London. Talking to Air Transport World, Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, said the range of the new Boeing 787-9 “has the range to operate such a route”, adding, “this opens up direct service from Australia to Europe for the first time.”
Requiring two sets of pilots for the flight, as well as extra cabin crew, the route poses some potential challenges. Namely, as the most direct path passes over the Crimea, currently off limits to Western aircraft, after Malaysian Airlines’ flight MH17 was shot down last year killing all 298 on board.
Secondly, should the aircraft need to divert to another airport in case of storms, the closest full-service international offering is Adelaide, which is a further two and a half hours and more than 2000 kilometres.
Still, if Qantas manages to work around these issues, the long-haul layover us Aussie have become accustomed to when travelling to and from Europe may be no more.
What do you think of this plan? Would you be willing to spend 18 hours stuck on a plane? Or do you prefer to break up your travel time with stopovers?
You can read more about Qantas’ proposed plan at the Telegraph.