Direct flights connecting Sydney and Melbourne to London could be operating by 2022, the CEO of Qantas has said, meaning travellers could hop to the UK in a single 21-hour flight.
The only thing standing in the way of the service is the actual aircraft, Alan Joyce said at an Amazon event in Sydney on Tuesday, explaining that pilots and regulators are on board, and that flight-path software and in-flight entertainment is ready to go.
But even the technology shouldn’t be a problem for too much longer, Joyce added.
He said Qantas has challenged plane companies, like Boeing and Airbus, to build a plane that can fly the distance by 2022. And he hopes to have selected a model by the end of 2019.
"We figured that the technology was getting better so we put out a challenge," Joyce said.
"I wrote notes to the CEO of Airbus, the CEO of Boeing and said 'we want you to help develop an aircraft ... can you do it by 2022?”
"The reaction of businesses was huge - Airbus said it was a bit like the space race, the race to the moon; that's how they're treating it in their organisation."
And when the flights are in action, it will be an innovation even bigger than the invention of business class, or inflatable life rafts.
Qantas currently offers direct flights between Perth and London which take around 17 hours.
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