Direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London could be up and running in less than three years, says Qantas CEO
- Qantas CEO has said direct flights to London and New York will soon be possible
- CEO Alan Joyce challenged Boeing and Airbus to create the technology by 2022
- Qantas has previously flown directly from Perth to London in March last year
Non-stop flights from Australia to London could soon be a reality in less that three years, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has revealed.
The airline is currently developing new technology that will determine how to conserve fuel over very long distances.
Mr Joyce discussed Project Sunrise, the ambitious plan to have direct flights running directly from Sydney and Melbourne non-stop in 21 hours, in Sydney on Tuesday.
The project also includes plans to fly from Sydney to New York in 19 hours.
It comes after Qantas launched it’s direct flight route form Perth to London in March last year.
This success gave them the airline confidence to push forward with longer flights, Mr Joyce said.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce spoke at the Amazon Web Services innovation day in Sydney on the previous announced Project Sunrise, that would allow the direct flights to London and New York
Mr Joyce said the ambitious plan is still very much dependent on the creation of a new type of aircraft capable of the flight but after challenging Airbus and Boeing to create such a plane by 2022, he now believes it is possible.
‘It was amazing because the reaction of businesses was huge,’ Mr Joyce said according to The Australian.
‘We now believe there’s an aircraft capable of doing it. The aircraft I think is going to be revolutionary.’
The creation of a new aircraft will also work in conjunction with a new type of data collection technology that has allowed them to learn better flight paths and increase the fuel economy and safety required for long trips.
Limitations in technology is not the only challenge the airline is facing Mr Joyce said, with the health and entertainment of passengers and pilot fatigue also paramount
Qantas chief technical officer Rob James said they were working with the University of Sydney and the Australian Centre for Field Robotics to create algorithms that are continually advancing their flight paths.
The next generation of aircraft the data collection rate is expected accelerate from 500gb per flight on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to over 2000 times the amount.
The improvements in technology could not only enable longer flights but potentially save customers money with a 1-2 per cent in fuel economy saving the company $40 million a year, according to The Mercury.
Limitations in technology is not the only challenge the airline is facing Mr Joyce said, with the health and entertainment of passengers and pilot fatigue also paramount.
Flight regulations will have to be changed to allow the ultra long flights with the commercial travel distances virtually unprecedented.
‘You have to change it with a regulator. We think we’ll have that lined up hopefully this year. This is the first time that Australia and Europe have been connected directly,’ Mr Joyce said.
The airline already proved it was coming close to the goal in March last year after it successfully ran a direct flight from Perth to London