Non-stop flights between London and Sydney could begin in 2022, the boss of Australian airline Qantas said this week.
Chief executive Alan Joyce confirmed that he expects to order planes by next year that can make the 20-hour flight non-stop flight.
The airline also wants to introduce non-stop flights between Australia and the United States and is in talks with both Airbus and Boeing about the new planes.
Mr Joyce told Radio 4’s BBC Today programme: “Business traffic and general leisure customers would rather have the certainty of getting there direct, not having to stop, not having connections gone wrong.”
Qantas launched non-stop flights taking 17 hours from London to Perth earlier this year and Mr Joyce said they had been 92 per cent full in economy and 94 per cent in business class.
But Mr Joyce said no plane could make the London to Sydney flight without stopping over and he is looking at either a modified Airbus A350-1000 to do the job, or Boeing’s new version of its 777, the 777-8.
A nonstop Sydney to London non-stop flight would cut almost four hours off current times, which include a stopover. The New York to Sydney route would be almost three hours shorter.
At present, the longest non-stop flight is the 17.5-hour Auckland to Doha route run by Qatar airlines.
The Qantas plans, named Project Sunrise, are justified due to Australia’s relative remoteness to the rest of the world, said Mr Joyce.
He said if the London to Sydney plans get off the ground, the next target would be Sydney to New York services.
The first Qantas flight on what has become known as the ‘Kangaroo route’ between London and Sydney was in 1947, when a Lockheed Constellation took four days with multiple stopovers.
Singapore Airlines is due to commence non-stops flights between Singapore and Newark, New Jersey, a trip of just under 19 hours.