Qantas is set to take delivery of its first B787 aircraft next year, and is likely to use it to open up a non-stop service between Perth and London.
According to The Telegraph, the prospective route would rival the current longest flight in the world – Emirates’ Dubai to Auckland service – that clocks in at 14,192 kilometres (8,819 miles).
As part of a partnership between Qantas and Emirates, flights between Perth and London currently require a stopover in Dubai. While the Australian carrier does operate a fifth-freedom link between Dubai and London Heathrow, most flights are operated by the Gulf carrier.
Although the B787 is all set to enter service next year, customers should not expect any new A380s to be introduced into Qantas’s fleet. The Flying Kangaroo has announced that it will be deferring the delivery of its existing order of eight superjumbos.
Despite being a passenger favourite, sales of the double-decker jumbo have been underwhelming as most airlines are opting for smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft such as the B787 and A350. As opposed to squeezing more passengers into planes, airlines are instead choosing to increase flight frequency in order to provide customers with more flexibility.
To its credit, Airbus remains optimistic for the future of the A380 and is planning on introducing a super-tight 11-across seating configuration in economy class. The new 3-5-3 seating arrangement will allow airlines to squeeze 23 additional passengers into coach.
“The A380 is in a class of its own with no competitor’s derivative coming anywhere close,” said Airbus’s head of media relations Robert Gage to Telegraph Travel.
“It is a firm favourite with passengers for its unmatched comfort… and airlines benefit from the extra revenue potential on the world’s busiest routes.”
Meanwhile, Boeing has also struggled to sell its four-engine B747-8, which has been a money loser for the American company since entering service in 2010. Most airlines are using the freighter variant of the aircraft, but even then sales have been lukewarm. There have only been 125 orders for the jumbo jet and Boeing has already delivered 104 of them.
“If we are unable to obtain sufficient orders and/or market, production and other risks cannot be mitigated, we could record additional losses that may be material, and it is reasonably possible that we could decide to end production of the 747,” said a Boeing spokesperson to The Telegraph.
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