Flight companies are battling to get rid of the layover. First there was Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong-New York route, taking a whopping 17 hours. Then Air New Zealand announced a 9,000-mile journey from New York to Auckland. And now Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, has announced it will begin operating non-stop flights from Sydney to London and New York from 2025.
The firm has purchased a new fleet of planes that are apparently capable of journeys to any city without stopping (we’ll believe it when we see it). The Sydney-London route is likely to take around 20 hours, which means it’ll be the longest passenger flight in the world. Prepare to pack a lot of in-flight entertainment.
Qantas has been planning the route – dubbed Project Sunrise – for years, but the pandemic has caused a fair few delays. In 2017, the carrier started running experimental 17-hour direct flights between Perth and London. And it already runs flights from the Australian city to Rome. But the new planes – complete with ample legroom and luxury seating areas – will make it possible to fly from Sydney. The cabins will reportedly be made up of four classes: first, business, premium economy and economy. And in the centre of the plane will be a ‘wellbeing zone’, with a self-service snack bar and ‘room for movement’. Prices haven’t yet been revealed, but they’re likely to be expensive.
The route was first launched in 1947, taking a whopping 58 hours and seven stops. We’ll take 20 hours on a single plane over that any day.
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