Qantas, Australia’s flagship airline, plans to begin making direct flights from Sydney to New York and London in the coming years, in what would be the longest passenger flights in the world.
The routes will debut in late 2025, thanks to new aircraft orders. The Airbus A350s used for the flights will emit lower emissions and offer increased cabin comfort for the long-haul journeys, including what Qantas referred to as a “wellbeing zone” in the middle of the planes. The zone will be designed to help customers with the extreme length of the trip, estimated at up to 20 hours.
“New types of aircraft make new things possible,” Alan Joyce, the airline’s CEO, said in a statement. “That’s what makes today’s announcement so significant for the national carrier and for a country like Australia where air travel is crucial.”
The airline touted the new planes as being able to reach “any other city” in the world from Sydney.
“The A350 … will make any city just one flight away from Australia,” Joyce continued. “It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance.”
Qantas tested the New York to Sydney route in 2019, flying a Boeing Dreamliner for 19 hours and 16 minutes while carrying 49 people, including cabin crew, the airline’s CEO and journalists, among others. Passengers were required to adhere to strict weight restrictions and the plane was loaded with 101 tons of jet fuel.
The airline also monitored flyers for their health and well-being to study the effect of long-haul flights on the human body.
“We know ultra-long haul flights pose some extra challenges but that’s been true every time technology has allowed us to fly further,” Joyce said at the time. “The research we’re doing should give us better strategies for improving comfort and wellbeing along the way.”