Recently, Qantas appointed Airbus and Boeing to a challenge: to fly further. The carrier wants to introduce nonstop service from Sydney to London, Brisbane to Paris, and beyond. For this long-haul, Qantas is going to choose between Airbus’ A350-900 and Boeing’s new 777-8X, which will no doubt increase the already intense competition between the two manufacturers.

Qantas announced this challenge to the public on Twitter, but has reportedly begun negotiating with Airbus and Boeing to see which manufacturer is more capable of meeting its expectations.

An Airbus A350-900. Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Laurent Errera

In a press conference Friday, CEO Alan Joyce stated he has “written to the CEOs of Boeing and Airbus to extend the challenge to them.” He added, “We think it will take the next year to work through the capabilities and technical ability of the aircraft to see if they can do that technical mission…” Essentially, Joyce asked the two companies to deliver versions of these aircraft with the capabilities of these ultra-long-haul flights, and he plans to work with them accordingly. Each company will work respectively with Qantas for twelve months before issuing orders for either aircraft. According to Qantas, these flights will save customers about four hours of travel time.

An artist’s impression of the Boeing 777-9X, the larger variant of the Boeing 777X family. Credits: Boeing

The airline is calling this “Project Sunrise,” after the double sunrise flights flown by the Australian carrier during the Second World War. Just after Qantas infamously moved their headquarters to Sydney in 1938, they utilized flying boats along their Australia-England routes. This line of communication was integral while they continued to fly to Singapore.

“Japanese Zeros shot down Captain Aub Koch’s flying boat while he was evacuating women and children from Surabaya. Shot through the arm and leg, he swam 8km ashore. Later when another of his aircraft was lost near Port Moresby, he gave his lifebelt to a passenger and swam unaided for 19 hours. There were many similar acts of heroism,” Qantas states on the World at War page on their website. Crews were on the front lines, and later served in New Guinea territory, working to drop supplies to Aussie troops.

Featured image by Qantas.

Categories: Industry Talk