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Commentator says not to expect a 4,000-mile flight until 2028, and CEO says he has seen no concrete plans from China
Ultra long-haul flights from London to Sydney? They’re still in the works, says Qantas CEO
A one-way trip from London to Sydney is about 10 years away, says Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
Joyce told Australian radio station 3AW he has seen nothing concrete on long-haul flights between the countries, but has discussed the idea with the Chinese.
In March, Chinese media reported that the country’s aviation regulator may amend a section of its rules on route approvals in order to allow an unlimited number of flights between Sydney and London. The move is seen as a direct result of the desire to develop an ultra-long-haul service.
Long-haul flights that push beyond 8,500km would require a subsidy of up to $1bn each flight, to make the business and emissions costs favourable.
Qantas shares, which have fallen 43% this year, were up by more than 6% on Tuesday afternoon.
Hong Kong-based Etihad is planning to launch daily flights between Auckland and Los Angeles in July, with the same schedule and double daily connections from London to these cities by the end of the year.
United Airlines is expected to launch a similar flight to Los Angeles in August.
Tourist and business lobby groups, which have successfully lobbied the White House to ease restrictions on some direct flights, say the measures are critical to growing tourism in the US and boosting the world’s largest economy.
“The White House is really excited about this change in policy and we are having a lot of conversations with the federal government as well,” In-moo Ji, the managing director for the Asia-Pacific region at US-Asia Travel Association, told the Guardian in March.