Qantas’s evaluation of ultra-long-range aircraft from Boeing and Airbus will come down to which jet will allow it to operate with a full load nonstop from Australia's east coast to Europe and the east coast of the United States.
Speaking during a panel discussion at the Singapore air show Aviation Leadership Summit, Qantas group chief executive Alan Joyce says the airline has been sharing information with both manufacturers as they attempt to get the Boeing 777-8 and Airbus A350-900ULR to meet the requirement.
“We’re trying to work on how we get the aircraft capable of being able to make the distance, but the important thing is not only to make the distance, but to make it with a full passenger load,” he says.
“We want both manufacturers to have an aircraft that is capable of doing it. If that’s the case we’ll do an RFP next year.”
Joyce reiterated that, if all goes according to plan, the carrier will look to place an order next year, with delivery planned for 2022.
In March, Qantas will launch the first nonstop service from Australia to Europe, flying from Perth to London using 787-9s.
Asked about the economics of such a route when fuel prices rise, Joyce expressed confidence that the flights would remain viable, particularly since they are operated using light, twin-jet aircraft.