Qantas eyes direct Sydney-Paris, Melbourne-Rome flights

By David Flynn, September 23 2016
Qantas eyes direct Sydney-Paris, Melbourne-Rome flights

Non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Europe's major cities could become the secret weapon in Qantas' international network.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has pencilled Sydney-Paris and Melbourne-Rome onto the “here’s where we could fly” route map, in a move which would see the airline cherry-picking the top European destinations for direct flights using ultra-long range aircraft.

“We’re never going to fly to the 40 destinations Emirates has, but you could be flying to a few of those top destinations,’’ Joyce told, noting that the combination of direct and via-Dubai services “gives you a very feasible and economic operation in Europe that works very well.”

Joyce has repeatedly circled in on Perth-London as a hero route for the Boeing 787-9, with Qantas’ east coast travellers flying to Perth and connecting onto a direct flight to London as an alternative to A380 flights to the Dubai hub of partner Emirates.

The Qantas-Emirates partnership requires that Dubai serve as the stopover for Qantas’ European flights, but the new generation of aircraft – from the Boeing 787 to the Boeing 777-8 and the Airbus A350-900ULR – can serve as ‘hub-busters’ which let travellers fly direct instead of connect. 

Read more: Qantas considering ultra-long range Airbus A350-900ULR 

From orange to red

It’s a reflection on the changing fortunes of Qantas that Jetstar, which in 2010 touted southern European destinations for its Boeing 787 network, is now ceding the continent to its red-tailed parent while the low-cost carrier looks to further develop up its asian footprint.

Qantas will also take over Melbourne-Tokyo flights from Jetstar as of February 2017, following the launch of its own daily Airbus A330 flights on the route in December.

Joyce has also flagged non-stop Boeing 787 flights to the US such as Melbourne-Dallas and Brisbane-Dallas, which would bypass the necessary evil of an LAX stopover, while longer-term plans using longer-range planes could make Sydney-New York as well as Sydney-London a non-stop reality.

Those aircraft would likely be the Airbus A350-900ULR or Boeing 777-8, but Qantas remains “some time away from a decision,” Joyce told The Wall Street Journal this week.

Qantas will begin flying its first Boeing 787-9 in November 2017 on an existing international route which the airline will reveal – and begin selling tickets for – in the next few months.

Read more: Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights on sale by year's end

The first quarter of 2017 will see Qantas reveal the first of several new international Dreamliner destinations, based on the additional three Boeing 787s due for delivery by mid-2018, with four more of the fuel-efficient jets to follow by mid-2019.

Joyce is bullish on the Dreamliner's potential and willing to take up the airline's total order book of 45 Boeing 787-9s, but only once the first tranche of jets have proved they can turn a clear profit.

"We have to demonstrate that we can make money out of the eight we have – but once we’ve done that, we’ll be comfortable in ordering more."

"I'd like to order all of them if I can make a good return out of them."

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 95

far and away the best news is the continued decline of Jetstar's International aspirations - Scoot and Air Asia X have done their worst and it shouldn't be a surprise to see more orange international routes turn red. they better give those 787s a good clean and refurb when they come back...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 512

There's certainly novelty about flying non-stop between Sydney and London overtime I think passengers will prefer a stopover as it's especially going to be hard sitting on a plane non-stop for nearly a day! Can't wait for the Perth-London announcement though, hope they have good seamless connections from the east coast and won't ever think about going through Asia and ME again.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1041

Which would have to wait until something like A350-900ULR or 777-8 comes to QF. The 787 does not have the range for non stop flights from anywhere in Australia to most ports in Europe. PER-FCO is pushing the range.

Australia only has rights to mainland France for 3 flights/week with aircraft over 320 seats.
A 250 seat aircraft, such as the rumored seat plan for the 787-9s, would be allowed 5 flights/week.
Under 200 seat aircraft would be needed for daily flights, such as the A350-900ULR 170 seat config SQ is getting for their SIN-NYC/LA non stops.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644


" 787 does not have the range for non stop flights from anywhere in Australia to most ports in Europe."
I'm also skeptical about QF's potential plan to deploy 789 on PER-LHR.  Here are the tech reasons:
1.  The longest 789 route today is SFO->SIN by UA @ about 13,600km.  I understand this flight @ full pax already cannot carry any Rev$ cargo at all westbound during extra-strong headwind season.
2.  PER->LHR will be 14,500km or 900km longer(i.e. @ least 1 extra hour of cruise) than SFO->SIN in op today.
3.  UA's 789 is configured with 252seats....practically the same as the rumored seatcount for QF.

To ensure reliable nonstop ops yr-round, I can see little possibility where QF does not need to block seats to reduce payload /enhance range for the 789 to make it on PER->LHR.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1445

Himeno,  I think the 789 would do Perth-London as it is the same distance as Melbourne-Dallas and much the same as LA-Singapore, which is happening. If it keeps under 250 seats and has Learmohg as an alternative it is possible, and that is what QF is suggesing

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644


" LA-Singapore, which is happening."
It is not "happening" yet.  SQ will be the 1st operator(So far the only 1 with such a plan) on that route and op won't be launched until 2018 upon arrival of the 359ULR per SQ's publicly announced plan.

I think U've probably confused this route with SFO-SIN also by SQ starting nex mth.

"If it keeps under 250 seats and has Learmohg as an alternative it is possible."
LEA(Learmonth) as an alternative is NOT the key to whether PER-LHR is possible.  Any operator crossing the Indian ocean or heading towards S.E.Asia fm AU can use LEA as an emergency diversion anytime they wish.

The key to whether PER-LHR yr-round is technically possible on 789 likely depends on whether QF is willing to block seats/apply payload restriction.

As per the original version of 787 tech brochure published by Boeing over a decade ago(Latest version revised to carry more seats but lesser range), a 789 can fly 15,000km+ nonstop if it's carrying about 250pax on older, lighter generation J seats(i.e. equivalent to today's PY seat).

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