Jamie Freed / Reuters
AERONAUTICS – A non-stop Sydney-London… in just over 19 hours. Here is the project of the main Australian airline, Qantas. This Monday, May 2, the company announced that it will launch the world’s first non-stop commercial flights between Sydney and London and New York by the end of 2025.
And to do this, a sign of the recovery of the air sector after the pandemic of covidit placed a colossal order with the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. Qantas will buy 12 Airbus A350-1000s to fly what it has called “Project Sunrise”. At the 2018 list price, the last year Airbus published indicative prices for its aircraft, the A350-1000 was worth 366.5 million dollars (about 348 million euros).
A price which does not however represent the real price paid by the airlines, the negotiations making it possible to lower the prices, in particular for large orders. Especially since Qantas has confirmed that it has obtained a significant discount on the standard price of the device.
“Any city will be just one flight from Australia”
“New types of aircraft make new things possible,” said company boss Alan Joyce in a statement. And to add that thanks to “A350 and Project Sunrise”, “any city (will be) just one flight from Australia”, he added, “the final border and the definitive solution against the tyranny of the distance”.
In this case, Airbus aircraft will be specially adapted for such long flights. Qantas said the new A350 aircraft would be configured for 238 passengers in total with First Class offering a separate bed, recliner and wardrobe. The company promises more spacious economy sections and an area designed to “move, stretch and hydrate”.
In the past, Qantas has conducted test flights for long-haul flights. In 2019, a London-Sydney test flight of 17,750 kilometers lasted 19 hours and 19 minutes. The same year, a New York-Sydney test flight 16,200 km long lasted just over 19 hours.
Qantas’ longest non-stop flight to date connects Darwin in northern Australia to London, nearly 14,000km in 17 hours and 55 minutes. Originally, this flight took off from the city of Perth, in the west of the country, but it was relocated to Darwin due to Covid-19 restrictions in Australia. Qantas said it would resume the Perth-London route this year.
The current record belongs to Singapore-New York
But globally, Singapore Airlines currently operates the longest nonstop commercial flight in the world. This one connects Singapore and New York, or more than 15,000 kilometers in an 18.40 hour journey. This is followed by the Darwin-London mentioned above, the Singapore Los-Angeles of Singapore Airlines and its 17h10 flight, and in the near future a New York-Hong Kong operated by Cathay Pacific which will avoid Russian airspace and cover some 17,000 kilometers in 16 to 17 hours.
Note that in addition to its all-new A350s, Qantas has also confirmed that it is ordering 40 A321 XLR and A220 aircraft from Airbus. And the company is not stopping there, also taking options to purchase 94 more of these aircraft through the end of 2034. $100 and $91.5 million for the A220-300s. The price of the A321 XLR was not indicated, the aircraft manufacturer having unveiled this model in 2019.
“The A321 and A220 will become the backbone of our national fleet for the next 20 years, helping to move this country forward,” according to the airline’s president.
The new plane would cut emissions by at least 15% if it ran on fossil fuels, and more if it used sustainable aviation fuel, he said. As for the A350-1000s, they will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan engines, designed to be 25% more fuel efficient than the previous generation of aircraft, Qantas said.
See also on the HuffPost: Airplane pollution: biofuels, preferred solution by manufacturers