Ultra long-haul flights from London to Sydney ‘still on’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has said a decision on the new routes will come by mid-2020

Ultra long-haul flights from London to Sydney from next year are still in the works, insists Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.

And he has said the deal to sell off the Heathrow base could help secure deals on new routes and buy new aircraft.

Airlines want more competitive routes between London and cities in Australia.

This could be achieved by a single point of entry with little airport infrastructure.

Mr Joyce told the BBC that alternative long-haul routes to Australia and New Zealand that were available on longer routes from other European hubs were often more expensive than its £5.75bn Heathrow sale.

“There will be nothing available there [Heathrow] in the next couple of years, ” he said.

“So we will have to regroup around those markets.”

Image copyright Qantas Image caption Changes to Qantas’s management may help pave the way for new routes

Qantas was forced to scrap plans for ultra long-haul services between Australia and the UK after the taxpayer-owned UK airport, BAA, said the cost would be prohibitive.

Mr Joyce said plans to launch the routes could still come “by mid-2020”.

“We are still on the road trying to find new long-haul destinations and new services from London to Australia,” he said.

Bid for new planes

Delays in obtaining visas for China were causing lengthy delays in a deal that could secure at least 50 Airbus aircraft for the Australian carrier, he said.

Qantas is also buying part of Boeing’s 777X jets and has teamed up with Emirates on a long-haul services between Australia and Dubai.

“We have got to get it sorted out so we can do a deal with Emirates,” Mr Joyce told the BBC.

The London-Australia route has historically been one of the “most profitable” parts of Qantas’s network, he said.

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