Australian airline Qantas Airways has relaunched a plan to launch direct flights connecting the east coast of Australia with New York and London, where it recently ordered Airbus for long-haul flights.
The airline said Monday it will purchase 12 A350-1000s in able to fly non-stop from Australia to any city in the world.
Qantas said commercial services will start from Sydney in late 2025.
Qantas had planned to begin 20-hour flights – internally called “Project Sunrise” – in 2023 and was on the verge of ordering planes when COVID-19 paralyzed the global aviation industry.
The resumption of the project indicates the confidence of the airline in a recovery in the number of international passengers, as well as increased demand for non-stop flights. And Qantas said on Monday that demand for major routes to London, Los Angeles and Johannesburg is already surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
“We are finally seeing a sustainable recovery in travel demand,” said CEO Alan Joyce.
Qantas’ A350s will carry 238 passengers in four classes: First, Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class.
According to the airline, most A350s carry more than 300 passengers on board. The planes will have an additional fuel tank to extend their range in so that they can fly the required distances.
“In a world post-COVID-19, in where geopolitical tensions are also likely to escalate, long-term services will have a unique appeal as they bypass travel hubs, “said Rico Merkert, Professor of Transportation at the University of Sydney Business School.
“This means that the flights will charge higher prices and be more profitable for Qantas,” he explained.
Qantas originally dreamed of designing an interior to help passengers get through these “marathon journeys”. At one point, Joyce thought there was room to incorporate bunk beds, childcare facilities, and even a place to work on the plane.
More than 40% of the cabin will feature premium seating, compared to around 30% of Qantas’ Boeing 787s and Airbus A380s. The new planes will have aarea wellness where passengers can lie down or take a break.
The A350s will be delivered to Qantas between 2025 and 2028.
The company also said that the resumption of air travel for the industry business it was more serious than expected. He noted that demand from small businesses is above pre-Covid-19 levels and that corporate travel has recovered by 85%.
In the quarter in course, the company’s domestic capacity will be 105% compared to 2019 levels, while international capacity is expected to be just under 50% compared to the same period, rising to around 70% in the quarter that began in July.
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