ULR flight

Jan 27, 2017

Qantas tightens the screws on Airbus and Boeing for ultra long range jets

Qantas wants a big jet to do do what no jets can do so far, but will Airbus or Boeing take the bait?

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Concept graphic of a Boeing 777-X

The quest for extremely long range airliners is actually an old story, but a very good one, and Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has hauled it out of the drawer and given it a tickle for some post Australia Day publicity.

The best of the stories, although it does contain a few minor factual blemishes, is in the Australian Financial Review, which has in the past, run some similar stories inspired not only by Joyce’s predecessor at Qantas, Geoff Dixon, but Virgin Blue co founder and CEO Brett Godfrey.

Mr Godfrey was at one time convinced that existing 777-200LRs could be flown non-stop from Sydney to London.

Which has always been true for that limited edition airliner, or its less unsuccessful Airbus rival the A340-500, which held the scheduled non-stop service record between Singapore and Newark for nine years. But such flights in the 777-200LR or the A345 couldn’t have carried many more passengers than they did crews  between Sydney or Melbourne and London (including mid-flight replacement crews), and perhaps for $100,000 each way, or eight to ten times as much as top premium fares go for these days.

As the AFR makes clear, Mr Joyce wants them to invest some lazy billions on developing a jet as large as current model 777-300ERs or the hopefully soon to go into service largest version of the Airbus A350, the -1000. But it wants the results of that investment to be able to fly for up to three hours longer than the A345 did on its 18.5 to 20 hour sorties between Newark and Singapore depending on forecast winds and the polar or middle latitude options that confronted Singapore Airlines’ flight planners ever day it was in service on that route.

(Singapore Airlines threw in the towel for Newark non-stops in 2013, however will pick it up again in 2018 with an ultra long range version of the A350-900 which it now has in service but too small in capacity for the ambitions set out by Qantas.)

The A350-1000, big enough for Qantas, but needs more range

The only airline with a case for non-stop flights between Melbourne and Sydney to London or New York is Qantas. And it remains a case held hostage by the spending habits of large, rich, indulgent corporations, most of which have moved offshore from Australia if they were ever here, and exhibit infatuations with insisting their executives fly as much as possible in economy class and share rooms in suburban motels rather than super deluxe hotels.

OK, that’s overstating the current inclinations of company travel account managers just a little, but the bit about offshoring is on the mark, is it not?

If Airbus isn’t going to build new technology upgrades for the A380, even thought Emirates said it would buy another 200 of them if it did, it is highly unlikely, as would be Boeing, to build a dozen or so extreme range makeovers of the A350 for Qantas.

And the current A380s carry a wing and a framework that makes them technically capable of being upgraded to non-stop Australia-Europe flights with new technology engines and a few other billion dollar tweaks anyhow!

There are other hurdles for extremely long range models of Airbuses or Boeings to overcome. (Let’s call them XULR jets to differentiate them.) Unless Airbus does an XULR A380, these will be big twin engined jets. They have to be able to suffer an engine failure during a takeoff roll at a velocity too high for the jet to stop on the remaining runway, and climb away on the remaining engine with enough lift to miss tall trees or buildings that might lie beyond, and then circle for long enough to dump enough fuel to reduce the weight of the aircraft to a value that wouldn’t collapse the undercarriage subjected to the higher stress of touching down compared to taking off.

They also need to complete a normal mission to an airport 20-22 hours away carrying sufficient fuel (all the way from Sydney) to have legal reserves for a last minute diversion to another airport after at least one missed approach.

So the challenges set by Qantas for Airbus and Boeing are highly desirable for a tiny cadre of rich or indulged air travellers, but require massive investments from the plane makers for an incredibly tiny fraction of the global market. Much of that latent demand already flies in very long range corporate jets such as the Gulfstream G650 or versions of the Bombardier Global Express.

The flight times of the jet Qantas wants may not be much faster than a one-stop route through Singapore or Dubai either. When an airliner makes an ultra heavy takeoff it is altitude and speed limited compared to a similar sized jet embarking on a flight of 13-15 hours to the US west coast or a Middle East hub. That is just a function of physics. Lifting a heavier load requires more energy, and if you are stuck at altitudes normally reached by small regional turbo-props for a few hours you burn a lot more fuel in a jet engine than you would at higher, more optimal levels.

None of the above says Joyce is wrong in the long run. The vision may well come true, just as it eventually came true, sort of, for the A345 and 772LR jets for flights that wouldn’t quite reach London or New York from Melbourne or Sydney.

The A350-900 ULR will do everything those earlier ultra long range jets did and with more payload for less fuel. But it’s not enough, yet.

Qantas wants 300 passengers.  The difference between a jet than can typically do 19 hours and deliver 180 passengers at the other end with legal fuel reserves in its tanks and one with up to twice as many customers flying for several extra hours can only be bridged with a lot of capital investment that mightn’t be rewarded, or for customers that won’t exist.

(Visited 33 times, 1 visits today)


Leave a comment

30 thoughts on “Qantas tightens the screws on Airbus and Boeing for ultra long range jets

  1. PaulM

    Ben, you describe a niche target market which could be expanded (in numerical terms) a bit if business travel, more broadly, is included. However, with the telecommunications industry and its associated technology, changing so rapidly, will that business market continue to grow? Sitting here at my lap top, I could use Skype to conduct business anywhere in the world. An acquaintance, now retired, told me the other day of his weekly trips to Sydney for meetings in the last decade. He wouldn’t need to do that now. Corporate travel managers might be looking at the level of service enjoyed by business travellers but, nowadays, general management is looking more and more at the need to travel at all.

  2. Frequent Traveller

    The Customer Quantas is aiming for, if he exists, wants a ballistic hypersonic flight at Mach 4 or near that. Nobody ever asked to spend 22h or more in the air. Life is too short to spend it on LR travelling …

  3. Deano DD

    Someone somewhere must have stats on how many Aussies are traveling to Europe on a daily basis….
    Once that figure is known, then Qantas could crunch the numbers, then put in a game-plan to run shuttles to an Asian hub and transfer passengers onward to Europe

    To go hub busting ULH routes fails to impress me for one
    A long time in a plane in any class
    Multiple crews and rest areas
    Heaps of extra fuel to carry the extra fuel needed
    I think there is going to be a premium charged on tickets to cater for the above

    For me, a couple of hours to stretch my legs mid journey or a couple of nights layover would be more preferable

    For Qantas to go down this path, they are saying that they can’t compete with the ME3 and Asian carriers to Europe 1 stop
    All things being equal (price, service, scheduled etc) I believe most Aussies would choose Qantas and with around 50% of inbound and outbound seats being filled with Aussies, Qantas merely needs to match their competition and rely upon the good will of Aussies
    If the ME3 can do it, then Qantas should easily match or better them, but the playing field needs to be leveled!!!!!!!!

    1. Deano DD

      On a foot note I am sure that Qantas could strike a deal with an Asian city hub with the promise of 10-15 flights per day (up to 5,000 transiting passengers)
      Some would just transfer while others may stay a few days and pump cash into the local economy, this would be a massive benefit to the hub city and Qantas could negotiate super competitive airport charges on that basis
      Gotta start thinking outside the box Qantas, not just fly over it….

      1. Dan Dair

        Deano DD,
        A couple of years ago, someone had what looked like a bright idea at that time & fits in nicely with your “Asian city hub” & “thinking outside the box” ideas. (of course it might have been you who mentioned it.???)

        Qantas could have bought out or been the senior-partner in an alliance with the struggling Malaysian airlines, made Kuala Lumpur their “Asian city hub” & channelled all their efforts to compete with the ME3, HK & Singapore in that direction.?

        1. pieter

          Hmm I’m pretty sure there are some fast-growing Chinese provincial capitals somewhere halfway the great circle that would be quite interested in having a direct link with London and Sydney

          1. Arcanum

            There’s already a Chinese city on the great circle route, one that has a fair bit of local demand too – Hong Kong. SYD-HKG-LHR is only about 2 miles farther than SYD-LHR direct. Now that Cathay Pacific’s starting to struggle with cost issues and competition from the ME3 and low-cost carriers, they might be more inclined to cooperate with other oneworld carriers than they have in the past.

  4. GeoffPhillips

    You’re on the money Ben. If you take a look at today’s mass marketing strategies, they are usually aimed at “families with kids”. That means mass produced, easy on the pocket, not overly fancy but still has plenty of bells and whistles which usually break 5 minutes after you get home. The market for a 20-hour torture trip will never attract the mass market. What will attract the mass market is a network of 7-9 hour legs between smart 24/7 airports – Dreamliners full of youngish punters (and kids) with minimum luggage, one crew, one meal per passenger, enough fuel for a maximum 2 hour diversion (so that the freight is maxed out), top class AV systems, easy check-ins and most off a management that cares for the 80% of bums in seats who travel once in a while. You’re right, Airbus and Boeing won’t build a plane just for Qantas, just like Holden, Ford and Toyota have decided not to build cars just for the Australian market.

  5. George Glass

    The B777-8 is advertised by Boeing as having a design range of 8700nm carrying 350 to 375 passengers and therefore will do Sydney – New York as designed,without modification. Sydney – London is about 544nm further and therefore about 1.1 hours or about 8 tonnes of Jet A1 at the cost of around 80 passengers , swapping payload for fuel. A simple Aux. tank modification will fix that.Twin engine jets do not have the thrust limit problems that 4 engine aircraft do and do NOT cruise at turboprop altitudes at early cruise. Most of the issues around so called ultra-long range flights have been resolved already. Single engine performance ,initial climb altitude etc. will not be an issue.What will be, as always ,will be cost. If the seat cost per passenger kilometer for a single sector flight turns out less than 2 sectors,which it probably will despite the extra fuel upload, the concept will work. Pure and simple.Whether or not people want to be airborne for 22 hours is a different question however.

    1. Ben Sandilands

      Some good news, and not so good news. The ‘not so good news’ first. Qantas hasn’t hired you, to make the 787 now and 777-Xs as proposed do the things it specifically says they can’t do, which is true of anything else on the market on the market as yet. But what would they know? If you put 375 seats into a 777-8 and filled them, with a degree of coercion, sort of like getting onto the subway in Tokyo at peak hour, there would be a few deaths or urgent medical situations before the jet gracefully swept down to a forced landing in a corn field somewhere over western central lower Siberia on its way to a Heathrow subject to a 90 minutes holding.

      The good news, for which Qantas deserves top marks, is that is working real hard to give those threatened species, the business class and premium economy customer, a terrific Dreamliner experience, and no doubt similar in whatever comes after it once Amnesty International takes up the case of minimums confinement standards for the great mass of air travellers, and requires airlines to revert to the original plans Boeing had for the 787, which is about the same density of seating as we seen in most A380s, A350s and classically outfitted 777s these days. The bean counters only have to give up a few dozen seats on their mini-economy torture tube layout for the 787 or Xs to make them really quite nice to fly in. And Qantas will then probably sell as many tickets if not more than it will in the currently proposed 787 payout, and might just apply that decency and commonsense to the 777-Xs or A350 variants that follow, in a world where the A380s will probably continue to be the carriage of choice wherever the demand will fill them.

      1. [email protected]

        So, what you are saying Ben is that Qantas should be a bit like Singapore Airlines.

        1. Ben Sandilands

          Now that you mention it that way, Yes. If I read SQ correctly, they have a lot of A350s on order, they’d like to buy some more with a higher capacity than the A350-1000 and if they can’t do that they’ll have to introduce a new type, a 777-X version. Late last year neither Airbus nor Boeing were saying positive things about making variants to suit a single customer. One thing the two jet makers have in common is an inability to deliver jets on time or in the desired numbers, and both have substantial backlogs for their single aisle and medium to larger capacity twin aisled wide bodies.
          If growth, fuel and airport and airway congestion all continue their upwards trajectories, airlines in general are going to face serious shortages of skilled pilots as well as infrastructure problems that they expect governments to fix or provide for.

          George is very right about those missed opportunities with the 777, although it wouldn’t have ever solved then need for VLA’s at the busiest airports .

          It may have been an overstatement at the time by Boeing, but back when the 777-200ER was the leading model, in the late 90s, the maker was saying that to anyone who would listen that the payload of the original BBJ based on the 737-700 could be flown non-stop from Canberra to Washington DC in that classic model of the twin engined wide body. Maybe in my opinion with a few less bureaucrats on board. Then again the first ever Qantas 747-400 did fly non-stop from London to Sydney with about two thirds the payload of the PM’s BBJ, which wasn’t acquired until halfway through the following decade and has to land in Honolulu on its way to DC.

      2. Arcanum

        Watch out, Ben!
        I read a story just this morning about the first A350 being delivered with 10-across seating in economy. Fortunately for you, Air Caraïbes (whose main business is flying tourists from France to the Caribbean) is unlikely to be seen in Australia any time soon. Nevertheless, it shows that 10-across is possible on the A350. For reference, the A350’s cabin is 18ft 5in wide compared to 19 ft 3in on the 777, so each seat should be about 1 in (2.5 cm) narrower than those you’re complaining about on the 777.
        If this takes off (pun fully intended), you may find yourself wishing you were crammed into the back of a 787 instead of the A350!

  6. George Glass

    Well,Ben,I didn’t understand most of your last post but I think you are over complicating things.Qantas has made some appalling fleet choices over the years,including the purchase of the A380 and the non-purchase of the classic B777. They have for historic reasons,not logical reasons,been fixated on filling 4 engine jets out of Sydney.Now it seems that is about to change,a least 10 years too late. But better late than never.Its not rocket science. Just poor decision making by mediocre CEO’s with ulterior motives.Pathetic really.

  7. michael r james

    If it’s good enough for the most powerful man in the world, why isn’t it ok for commercial flights? I’m talking, of course, about in-flight refueling. Apparently Airforce One can be kept in the air permanently. While carrying the most important American of course, not to mention the mobile control centre of the US nuclear response.
    Surely it has to work out more economic than carrying so many fewer pax and using so much fuel to carry all that extra fuel. And avoiding landing charges for all those pax at an intermediate (never Australian) airport?

    1. Ben Sandilands


      I think you answer your own question, in that Air Force One doesn’t have to be accountable for its costs of operation, or compete for customers.
      Also look at the utterly epic costs and time involved in just rendering the 767 platform workable as a USAF in flight tanker, and the difficulties admittedly less, that the A330 based MRTT went through.

      THen ask yourself about how the costs and ownership and investment in rrefuelling bases for the in-flight refuelling jets would be met, and what the modification and certification costs would be in both designing the commercial refueller and the system that would be incorporated in the airframes of 777s, A380s, A350s, and so forth. Imagine what then happens when airline A which eventually gets inflight refuelling capabilities comes up against airline B that stops somewhere along the way and doesn’t have any cost component for such a capability.

      When you refuel military aircraft they don’t couple and guzzle at cruising speeds or high altitudes, they slow down, lower their altitude and eventually link up for fuel that is being carried by another fuel burning monster and quite possibly consuming every bit as much between them as two separate flights.

      The economics in operation, and the development costs to get there, would be crazy. Two fuel supply chains, two aircraft, and lots of clever competitors out there to get you to a destination less than 90 minutes later than the in flight refuelled jet and with a much simpler operational task.

      1. Dan Dair

        It might make more sense invest big money to research ways of making fuel lighter.?

        There is an optimum range for an airliner, which is a trade-off between distance and the MTOW.
        For some journeys, it might make a lot of sense to drop a few passenger spaces in order to reach a destination.
        Australia to Europe is never going to work without a significant change of either the weight of the fuel itself or the fuel burn per km of large aircraft.?
        It doesn’t matter if you put extra fuel-pods onto an A380, as has been said before, the weight of the extra fuel to carry the extra fuel is always going to be prohibitively expensive.

        I am reminded of the RAF Vulcan missions used to bomb the airstrip on the Falkland islands.
        They launched four aircraft from Ascension island to make sure they had three fully serviceable in the air; one of the four always then returned to base.
        Three aircraft then set off South. At a certain point, one aircraft gave-up most of its fuel to another and returned to base. Around the maximum endurance point, one of the two Vulcans gave-up the fuel to the other & returned to base.
        The remaining Vulcan then flew to the Falklands, carried out its mission if it could & returned North.
        Meanwhile three more Vulcans took off from Ascension. One would always return immediately.
        The remaining two went South to meet the lone bomber. One would give-up its fuel as late as it could to the other and then RTB. The remaining aircraft would meet-up with the lone bomber & the two would return to base.
        If weather conditions meant the two aircraft needed a top-up to get home, a third set of aircraft would be launched to ensure their safe return.

        As Ben pointed-out earlier, the logic & logistics of military air-to-air refuelling are not predicated on costs but on need.
        Since there is no ‘need’ in civil aviation, it just doesn’t stand-up economically.

      2. michael r james

        Ben wrote:

        The economics in operation, and the development costs to get there, would be crazy. Two fuel supply chains, two aircraft,

        You haven’t shown any of that and frankly I am unconvinced. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense for most other airlines operating out of major hubs (all within single flight to most places) –and that is the nub: there is no demand for this. But “two fuel supply chains” is simply silly: the refuelers would be based and be flying out of an existing large hub approximately halfway (Singapore, Dubai, or actually much cheaper secondary airports) which already have fuel facilites (which is delivered by ship of course, vastly cheaper than flying more than 2x the normal fuel load about 9,000 km). In fact wherever it would be it would be saving fuel being shipped to Australia (5,000 km by ship to Australia then 5,000+km by air back to the halfway point!). Also it is not “two aircraft” as a single refueler would be able to service all planes on a given route (or intersecting that hub). Well, a couple. Probably could pick up some second-hand ones sitting in the Nevada desert parking lots; these things don’t have to be anything like up to passenger standards.

        Personally I think flying non-stop for such ultra-long routes is ridiculous, but the foibles of the flying public (and “business” bean counters probably worse) has always been beyond me. Nothing seems more absurd and obscene (efficiency and eco-wise) than loading up a plane with hundreds of extra tonnes of fuel, a lot of which will be used to merely fly it to the halfway point.
        I am ignorant of matters aeronautical (help, you guys) but I am unconvinced about the creation of a refueler–every major nation’s airforces have them and frankly their cost (and their own efficiency) is rapidly repaid. Qantas is obviously too lazy to really look at technical solutions and merely wants to use brute force methods (vastly bigger fuel load, much small pax load and much, much higher per pax fare): doesn’t look like a winner to me.

        Qantas once was a leader. In fact it has just opened a maintenance facility in LAX that can handle A380s which is the only one of its kind (apparently, got to always take such Australian claims with scepticism) and they hope to capture other airlines business.
        But that provokes me to say that, with mid-Pacific (or even out of LAX etc) refueling Qantas could service all the major American hubs (mid-west and east-coast). Now that might make a bit more sense because it would not be an ultra-long flight (except to NYC I suppose; still “only” 18 hours if direct?) and given the awful experience of flying a US domestic leg and being forced to go thru LAX, I might even consider that.

        1. michael r james

          Here’s the quote about the Qantas LAX facility:

          … about 200 staff, including 150 engineers — and LAX officials believe it will make the airport the top A380 maintenance facility in the US.

      3. Tango

        Wow, aerial refueling.

        Well maybe they can use the A330MRTs from the RAAF so they can practice more?

        Can you say stop and do a gas and go at hugely lower costs?

  8. patrick kilby

    Michael, I suspect it is the largest A380 facility in the US because it is the only one. I can’t think of anyone else having one because EK is too dispersed in terms of routes, and BA too close (to the UK)

  9. Tango

    A couple of comments.

    First how come Australia thinks that aircrafts Mfgs have to be driven by the reality its so far away? Now don’t get me wrong, other than England (grin) Australia is my favorite country in th4e world (in regards to fast friends and please bear with us through the current administration!)

    Do a fuel stop. Do one before you need a second crew. More passengers carried, we all like to get out and stretch out legs…….

    And I ponder the A380. Supposedly it can be stretched to the 900, so like the short Boeing 747 of years back, should it not be able to carry what it has a much longer distance?

    I mean it has either more fuel tank than its using, or they can put in bigger ones for the 900 so all you have to do is put some more fuel in.

    The Singapore flight is going to be something like 190 people. That seesm a waste for an A350!

    1. Dan Dair

      “Do a fuel stop. Do one before you need a second crew. More passengers carried, we all like to get out and stretch out legs…….”

      I agree completely.
      It makes lots of sense to stop somewhere, well-before you enter the realms of alternative airfields & fuel reserves.
      The less fuel you take-off with, the more passengers & or freight you can carry.
      If you need extra crew, have them waiting for you at the stopover,
      you can carry extra passengers if you’re not carrying spare crew.?

      Ideally, you find yourself somewhere as far North as possible, which also coincides with being somewhere people actually would like to get on or off your aircraft.????
      In that particular scenario the usual suspects of HK & Singapore aren’t really far enough North,
      Lahore, New Delhi or Chengdu perhaps.?

      1. Tango

        Well I was thinking Hawaii!

        Then onto London. Get some Vitamin D before the fog rolls in.

        Also over much more friendly territory (I am assuming that the Toddler in Chief does not declare war on our two staunchest allies and starts having them shoot down Quantas and BA of course)

  10. Zarathrusta

    It sounds like QANTAS is again rejecting the perfectly profitable in favour of the imaginary perfect.

    1. Tango

      Yep, being a small market aircraft needed part of the US, Alaska and Oz have a lot in common.

      We get single aisles to the Sates, period.

      Funny, they stop in Seattle or Salt lake or? as needed.

  11. Arcanum

    I can’t see this happening any time soon. Aside from Australia to London and New York, how many routes are there that could really sustain such a service?

    Singapore’s flights to New York (almost) worked because they were filling the plane with business and premium economy passengers on corporate accounts willing to pay extra for the convenience of a non-stop. Economy passengers (who tend to pay personally and are thus much more sensitive to price) are unlikely to cough up significantly more just so they can avoid LAX. A 777-300ER-sized jet would certainly need to have some economy passengers to fill it.

    The other important issue here is competition. There are lots of high-quality Asian and Middle Eastern carriers offering a one-stop service from Singapore to New York, so a non-stop gives Singapore an advantage. This is less of an issue on Australia-US routes, where the alternatives to Qantas are taking a North American carrier with inferior service or making a big detour to go via Asia or the Middle East. Qantas doesn’t need to fight for business because they already offer the best option.

    As for Australia-London, I think that’s a lost cause. Because of the distance and geography involved, Qantas is competing with literally dozens of carriers, many of which will always be able to offer a lower price because of lower labour costs in their countries, government subsidies, etc. Is there enough premium cabin demand to sustain a non-stop SYD-LHR? Perhaps, but once you factor in the economics of multiple crews, extra fuel just to carry fuel, and maintaining a separate subfleet, it’s probably not worth the hassle.

  12. Dan Dair

    Wasn’t it only five minutes ago that QF were crowing about their Perth to LHR non-stops.? (starting in April 2018…….)
    (I’m not knocking that, I really think it’s an excellent idea.!)

    But why aren’t they telling us that they’re planning to fill that service to the brim,
    by selling it to anyone who’s not in Sydney or Melbourne with a big discount on the internal flight to Perth.?
    & why are they worrying about the next generation of aircraft when they can’t yet be certain that they’ll generate a sustainable market for the service they haven’t yet started.?????

    1. michael r james

      to fill that service to the brim,by selling it to anyone who’s not in Sydney or Melbourne with a big discount on the internal flight to Perth.?

      Because you would be spending even more time in the air. More time than flying east coast to Singapore (or some other Asian or ME hub) and changing for Europe. Remember that Perth is the most isolated large city in the world. When you fly there from anywhere else in Australia you are taking yourself away from everywhere else. Dare I say that that is why MH370 was programmed to fly towards Perth.

      However, after finally getting and reading the original AFR article, I understand better what Joyce’s strategy is: to capture Qantas passengers (on US east-coast, maybe Atlanta, Chicago) at the beginning of their journey because most of them will be lost to other carriers if not. (I think Arcanum hinted at this in the post above yours.)
      That doesn’t mean it will work, though in my earlier post I did say that it is something I might have considered so as to avoid flying domestic with US airlines to a awful hub like LAX (and you rarely have a choice). As almost everyone agrees, the London non-stop is a hopeless strategy until hypersonic travel arrives (and planes that can do it for 15,000 km; I think Concorde stopped twice whenever it did it as a showcase; most scheduled Concorde flights to Oz only flew you partway on Concorde then transferred you to a regular flight–maybe only in Bahrain IIRC).
      Incidentally Joyce was perhaps influenced by Bernard Salt (he of mashed avo fame) who analysed global cities and their connection to other global cities via single-flights:
      Single flight accessibility means the tyranny of distance is history
      Bernard Salt, 17 March 2016.

      1. Dan Dair

        My point was, if you have to get a connecting flight to another Australian city, in order to catch a flight to London via another hub airport,
        IMO there’s a very good case to make, to offer a cheap connecting domestic flight to Perth (where available) & fill-up that non-stop to London service.
        If you’re driving to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, etc, it wouldn’t make such sense.

        I didn’t really see the relationship of the Bernard Salt article to the thread.?
        Bernard is talking about how well Australia is served with direct flights to relatively near neighbours, mostly from KSA. I’m not arguing with that, I assume his figures are accurate & thus they speak for themselves.
        But the fact that three or four ‘international’ airports only connect with Bali, doesn’t really make them very connected, internationally speaking.?
        He seemed to me to be emphasising that the economic growth of the Asian region & more particularly of China, meant that the growth was coming closer to Australia & consequently Australia can more easily access those economic markets.

        His single flight accessibility list was demonstrably short on European destinations,
        which was the region that Alan Joyce was angling-for.!

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details