The most boring thing in aviation could just be pulling out the oxygen mask, quipped Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
This is because overseas competition is causing tough times in the industry and to maintain a healthy business, Qantas will eventually have to work on making an ultra long-haul flight possible.
Joyce said the airline is still “many years” away from developing one such service as it would take far too long and involve too much expense.
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“It’s really a non-starter. I mean, some of the networks are looking at this, and I’m sure there’ll be niche interest in it. But it would be very expensive to do. It would take several years and millions of dollars,” he said in Sydney.
Qantas currently operates one ultra long-haul flight per week between London and Los Angeles, and added flights between Australia and New Zealand starting in November.
Growth in the industry so far has come from the Boeing 777 (and the long-range 787), which requires a slightly longer pilot runway, and also requires a slightly longer fuel burn, said Joyce.
“We are way too far away from making it work to make it commercially viable,” he added.
British Airways says it has no plans to develop a similar service, but is evaluating the viability of such an option.
Qantas has recently been pushing the case for hybrid airliners that use new and existing technologies and engines. These ideas are part of Qantas’ Energy2020 program.
See how Qantas’ history with passengers has changed…