Qantas wants to operate the world’s longest direct flight

World's longest flight

Qantas plans to launch the world’s longest direct flight by 2022. Source: Shutterstock

QANTAS has set its sights on transporting passengers halfway around the world on a direct Sydney to London flight.

Should this estimated 20-hour flight route become reality, the Australian flag carrier will earn the crown as the airline that operates the world’s longest non-stop flight.

Currently, Qatar Airways operates the longest non-stop flight: from Auckland, New Zealand, to Doha, Qatar, at around 17 hours and 40 minutes.

Looking for a larger slice of the long-haul-flight market, Qantas is now reportedly in talks with European planemaker Airbus SE and its Chicago-based rival Boeing for an aircraft capable of plying the Sydney-London route non-stop.

And it wants the plane delivered by 2022.

Such a plane doesn’t yet exist but with interest in the long-haul-flight market on the rise, Airbus expects to see a demand for between 50 and 100 such planes from other airlines, the firm’s chief salesman Eric Schulz told Bloomberg.

While Qantas already operates a non-stop air route from Perth to London, the aim is to be the first to unlock Australia’s eastern seaboard.

If the aircraft manufacturers are successful, airlines could open direct routes from Asia to South America and Australia to South Africa, leaving business travelers, expats and vacationers rejoicing across the globe.

For Qantas, its Sydney-London dream is part of Project Sunshine, which aims to make most of the world reachable for anywhere else.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has been quoted saying the ultra-long-haul flights are the “last frontier in global aviation.”

But Qantas has competition.

As it prepares to introduce the world’s longest flight, Singapore Airlines has announced it will be reviving it 19-hour direct flight from New York to Singapore this October.

Originally launched in 2004 and ceasing operation in 2013 due to surging oil prices, Singapore Airlines is bringing the route back in true style.

With reworked cabin features including lighting options to combat jet-lag, leg rests and bigger entertainment screens, it’s little wonder tickets are averaging US$1,500.

Despite the long-haul competition from other Asia-Pacific airlines, Joyce claims Qantas is “getting very confident” about such long-range flights.