Qantas looks to order ultra-long range Airbus or Boeing jets in 2019

Qantas looks to order ultra-long range Airbus or Boeing jets in 2019

The countdown clock is ticking on Qantas' ambitious plans to launch non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York, with the airline ready to place an order for ultra-long range Airbus or Boeing jets next year for flights from 2022.

"We're having good dialog with both Boeing and Airbus, and I think we're getting to a stage technically where we know what the aircraft is going to be in the next few months," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said on the sidelines of the IATA aviation summit in Sydney.

"We're hopeful that if the business case works, in 2019 we’ll put an order in for the aircraft to arrive in 2022, and and I think Boeing and Airbus are keeping slots for us, so its feasible for us to do it at that stage."

Boeing is beavering away on extending the range of its new 777-8 jet, while Airbus is crunching the numbers on special ultra-long range versions of both the Airbus A350-900 and A350-1000.

Meanwhile, Qantas has already run the ruler over potential non-stop routes for what Joyce described as a "reasonably sized fleet" of the long-legged jets.

"London from Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane is something we'd like to do (and) we have the slots in London," Joyce said. "We have Paris and Frankfurt on the list, so we'd like to work through whether they're do-able."

"But the big opportunity is also to the US," Joyce added, citing both New York and Chicago for possible non-stops. "We already fly a 747 from LA to New York so we know we can make that work today. the traffic's there for it."

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

34 comments

  • Dean

    deany83

    3 Jun, 2018 07:01 pm

    If Qantas did Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane direct to London, poor Perth’s days would be numbered unless Qantas could secure additional slots
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    Sema4beach

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    3 Jun, 2018 10:13 pm

    QF has four slots so Perth could still be in, the Sing stop would be the one to give up. There would be a non stop flight from each city. At around 300 seat each plus Perth gives 1100 seat or so, an small increase on the close to 1000seats they had with 2 A380s. This would suggest an economy cabin on the ULRs.
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  • aturnbull

    aturnbull

    3 Jun, 2018 10:46 pm

    Yeh I think that provided PER airport get back on board with QF it will stay. PER will still be fed by ADL and regional QLD which should be enough to sustain daily. I think CDG and FRA would run through there as well and pick up the lower yielding connecting traffic.
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  • John Leslie

    monoccular

    4 Jun, 2018 07:54 pm

    PER fed by regional QLD? Surely only via BNE.
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  • Dean

    deany83

    4 Jun, 2018 11:39 am

    Oh yeah I forgot there were four pairs not three!
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  • mviy

    mviy

    4 Jun, 2018 11:49 am

    Whether they do four flights a day to LHR or not there will obviously be a transition period as they won't get all the new planes needed to do all the new direct non-stop flights all at once.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens during that time. If they start with say SYD-LHR as they presumably would the question becomes does the A380 service SIN-LHR get scrapped then or if PER-LHR is getting scrapped does the A380 service get a temporary reprieve and become part of a MEL-SIN-LHR service till QF gets more of the Project Sunrise planes to enable them to do MEL-LHR direct non-stop as well?
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  • chap6595

    chap6595

    3 Jun, 2018 10:37 pm

    I can think of nothing worse than sitting in a place for 18 hours without getting off.

    I much rather the model of Emirates, everyone one into one hub, couple of hours to walk around and stretch and then out again.

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    PJK

  • cian.moynihan@gmail.com Moynihan

    cian

    4 Jun, 2018 05:13 pm

    It's 14 to UAE, then 2 on the ground followed by 7 to London. I'd prefer to suck it up for 4 more hours and chop 5 hours off my journey. I think the demand is there.
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    monoccular

  • Rav

    Rav

    4 Jun, 2018 06:53 pm

    And if thePER to LHR is 18 MEL to LHR is 22+
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  • Peter Keenan

    PJK

    6 Jun, 2018 09:46 pm

    Totally agree with chap595, I do 6 flights to LHR per year and have tried numerous airlines. Have settled on Thai as Bankok as it pretty well breaks the journey in half
    Sorry Mr Joyce, but 20 hours in a tube is too long
    10 years ago I did the SQ flight from L.A to Singapore, that flight cured me from ever wanting to do another ultra long haul again, my time isn’t that precious that I need to save a few hours at the expense of going crazy
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  • mviy

    mviy

    3 Jun, 2018 10:41 pm

    Flights from Perth if they continued would presumably still be on the 787 but I do wonder if they’d move that 787 to flying to a different European destination that they can’t justify flying to as part of Project Sunrise or stop flying the 787 via PER entirely and repurpose the 787 for flights to Asia or North America from the East Coast.

    It depends on how much direct non-stop traffic from PER QF can get, and whether the economics of using more expensive LHR slots stacks up.
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  • Tom Lovegrove

    tommylove007

    3 Jun, 2018 11:45 pm

    Qantas should also look at flights from Perth using the ULR planes to destinations like LAX, SFO, YVR, LAS, SCL, or MEX.

    Using the 787, they should fly PER to CDG, BCN, FCO, BER and HNL.
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  • HusseinAl98

    HusseinAl98

    4 Jun, 2018 12:48 am

    As much as would love that, I can not see that happening, nor would it make any sense. Perhaps PER to CDG or LAX would be the only ones that would have enough demand. LAX could connect with the hop to JFK but with Project Sunrise, I cant imagine that hop would be around for long.
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    4 Jun, 2018 02:35 am

    So if they fly direct from the east coast of Oz to New York what does that do to flights to LA? Do they duplicate, as in fly from Sydney / Melbourne / Brisbane to both LA and to New York? Or just Sydney to LA? Just that Joyce’s comment that they already fly LA to NY seems irrelevant as that flight is a continuation of the Brisbane - LA one and picks up passengers from the Sydney and Melbourne to LA flights.

    Perhaps Melb-LA drops to one flight a day with seasonal extra flights for holiday travelers.
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  • mviy

    mviy

    4 Jun, 2018 08:47 am

    The BNE-LAX flight is already planned to move to the smaller 787 from the larger 747.

    The second MEL flight to LAX will reduce frequency from September with some flights going to SFO. Maybe once Project Sunrise is in full swing all of the remaining second MEL to LAX flights will move to SFO leaving MEL to LAX at one flight a day.

    QF would like to fly to more destinations direct non-stop. This will lead to less passengers needing to connect via LAX. I expect QF will still fly the A380 there from MEL and SYD though so there will still be significant demand for that route.

    Once QF starts flying SYD to JFK I expect QF operated LAX-JFK will stop. There are far less connection problems flying between MEL and SYD or SYD and BNE as there are several of those domestic flights a day. Whereas delays can affect connections in LAX.
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    4 Jun, 2018 11:23 am

    mviy, you mean 'fewer' (for plural) rather than 'less.'

    Cutting BNE - LAX to a B789 means a significant cut in available seats, just like QF did with QF9 and QF10 in rerouting via PER and bringing in a B789 in place of the far larger A380.

    Is QF's strategy to be more like JL, or SQ on its longest route, and have far fewer economy seats and concentrate on the J passengers?
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  • mviy

    mviy

    4 Jun, 2018 01:03 pm

    QF wants to fly point to point rather than via hubs.

    The 787 is a versatile plane that can fly a number of routes which is important. The A380 couldn't make the distance and the 787 was the fuel efficient plane QF went with at the time they needed it.

    QF was always going to retire the 747 at some point and the LAX-JFK flight can't pick up domestic traffic so the 747 capacity would typically be a lot more than needed for that.

    As QF starts to fly direct to more destinations in the U.S. from BNE the drop in capacity to LAX will be less of a problem as there'll be less passengers needing to connect to onwards destinations at LAX.

    I've long considered the MEL-PER-LHR flights to be a stop gap till Project Sunrise.

    However, if QF does fly more than two flights to LHR a day there will be a lot of economy seats on QF metal to LHR then. How that will compare to what there were with 2 x A380s we'll have to wait and see.

    QF does need to sell enough premium seats (Premium Economy, Business and First - if available) to subsidise the economy passengers to make routes viable.

    There are for more potential customers for any of direct non-stop MEL/SYD/BNE to LHR than there would be for PER-LHR.
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  • Rav

    Rav

    4 Jun, 2018 06:56 pm

    And 1 of the major delays is the staff at LAX through homeland.
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    5 Jun, 2018 02:21 am

    Irrelevant for outbound connections through LAX. Once you're airside you bypass TSA there. Incoming is soooo much better now than it used to be as well. Maybe the morning peak can catch people out but generally I get through on a paper visa (so no machines) in 30-45 minutes now, seat to curb. Even last week with the family and secondary processing we were out in under an hour.
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    5 Jun, 2018 02:16 am

    True re. connections in LA vs. Sydney. Even though LAX is an AA hub you can't beat the shear volume of options between MEL / SYD / BNE.
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  • Anthony Spasevski

    Zaps1971

    4 Jun, 2018 02:33 pm

    Serious, around 20 hours,regardless what class you are in.
    Got to feel for the crew...
    Member who gave thanks

    cian

  • Russjking

    Russjking

    4 Jun, 2018 02:55 pm

    BNE > LHR? is there the numbers ti make it work?
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  • mviy

    mviy

    4 Jun, 2018 04:26 pm

    I'm guessing QF will probably try SYD-LHR then do MEL-LHR and if both of those are a success they could well give BNE-LHR a try as well.


    If BNE-LHR fails they would have a plan B to use the plane on a different route.

    Remember that QF is planning to do other flights with the same aircraft such as SYD-JFK and they won't get all the aircraft at the same time.

    The manufacturers can only make so many planes at a time and they're not only making planes for QF but many other airlines at the same time.


    The delivery will be spaced out a bit like with the 787 rollout at the moment.


    QF will see how the economics work for some key routes before adding others.


    QF believes that by offering direct non-stop they'll be able to win back market share from competitors or prevent losing it to some other carrier going direct non-stop instead of them.
    Otherwise they wouldn't be doing this.

    QF has historical data they can compare with for how MEL-PER-LHR, MEL-DXB-LHR etc. went that would give them an indication as to whether a direct non-stop flight from MEL will give them the market share increase that they're hoping for.


    Remember also that SYD-LHR direct non-stop will have less capacity than the current A380 service and some of the current A380 traffic would be customers from BNE. I'm sure QF would have looked at the numbers on how many fly BNE-SYD-LHR.

    Most of the loyal customer that fly to SYD so they can fly QF all the way would be expected to give a direct non-stop service from BNE a try.


    It'll be interesting to see if QF extends the Emirates partnership again or not. If they don't then passengers who flew on QF marketed flights on Emirates may switch to the QF operated flights.

    If they extend the partnership QF may try to get Emirates to reduce it's number of flights to Australia or move some onto smaller planes.

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  • worldwanderer

    worldwanderer

    4 Jun, 2018 03:33 pm

    Thumbs up to QF.

    The more more flights direct to destinations and less hanging around for hours in intermediary airports (esp. LAX) or even worse running from one gate to the next (very common occurrence in HKG), the better.

    I don't understand the constant hullabaloo and head shaking over 18 hr flights when several thousand passengers are lining up for 16-17 hr flights every day of the week to various destinations on more than a dozen carriers.
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  • Tony OBERON

    obi

    4 Jun, 2018 03:49 pm

    But seriously, who can stand 20 hours of Qantas in-flight service - it's so variable. Just came back from QF first class to London. Going over the food in the SYD First lounge and on board was, let's be polite, 'ordinary'. Coming back was better, but not to other airlines' first class standards. Time perhaps to say good-bye to Mr Perry after 20 years - complacency has long since set in.
    Members who gave thanks

    peter pokorny, kiwibrownie, bl812

  • vitorsyd

    vitorsyd

    4 Jun, 2018 06:14 pm

    What about GRU or GIG? Would either of them still be on the cards ? Flying through SCL is always a nightmare because the ground staff doesn’t speak neither English nor Portuguese and the security check / Qantas luggage tag queues are ridiculously long.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    4 Jun, 2018 08:44 pm

    Now that LATAM Brasil (TAM) is part of oneworld, maybe they will.

    Most of the overseas destionations QF are, or are looking at, flying to are hubs for partners.
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  • bl812

    bl812

    4 Jun, 2018 08:50 pm

    Another 4 years,hopefully by than Branson comes up with the super shuttle so don't have to rot in a tube for 18 hours"
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  • bl812

    bl812

    4 Jun, 2018 09:05 pm

    Anybody who flew via the Arabs knows what sort of a jam they produce,after all Dubai is the 4-5th largest airport in the world nowadays,at least you can omit that misery if u fly with qf but the question is if it worth it?
    The product no first class is not comparable with the Arab goods. The 350 and 780 is no match for the 380 or 777 as comfort goes for business and first class.Maybe Qatar new suits on business ? That certainly better than Qantas business or even first!
    I prefer privacy with a closable door so don't have to undress front of the others,unless u change in the toilet.
    SQ still wins on all fronts light years ahead!
    Kruge or Dom to start with....


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  • 180mis

    180mis

    4 Jun, 2018 09:54 pm

    bl812, I flew the Qatar Q-Suites last week from DOH-LHR and I don't think they are as good as the marketing hype. I felt very claustrophobic in a single, forward facing window seat. Are they better than Qantas Business? Absolutely. Are they better than Qantas First? Not at all. Qantas First is leaps and bounds better; more space, better service and much nicer dining and drink options.
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  • Flying Fish

    AWA2602

    4 Jun, 2018 11:11 pm

    So what's going to happen to all the QF A380's when these Project Sunrise routes take off?
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    5 Jun, 2018 02:25 am

    They'll keep using them on routes that need the seats and into ports that have limited slots or gates. Personally if I have the choice I'd take a 380 over a 787 every time.
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  • mviy

    mviy

    5 Jun, 2018 08:56 am

    They’ll fly them to LAX still. Probably SIN and HKG as well. Perhaps they’ll still fly to DFW too.

    They could consider flying the A380 to other places such as SFO if the numbers stack up too. I wonder if they will fly it to HNL.

    Some of the A380 planes would likely get moved around to different routes depending on where there’s the seasonal demand.
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  • devilish

    devilish

    5 Jun, 2018 10:36 am

    Would also include Sydney-Tokyo to be a possible candidate.
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24 Jul, 2019 07:33 pm

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