Qantas’ ultra-long haul dream

By Bjorn Fehrm

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May 25, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The headline is taken from a Reuter's article by Jamie Freed from April . We helped Freed to check if the Airbus A350-900ULR and Boeing 777-8 could fly the coveted Sydney-London distance direct.

The article says it’s possible, if it’s not too windy. Here we go a bit deeper into what’s involved.

Figure 1. Airbus photo of A350-900 test aircraft in formation.

The question is not if it’s possible. It’s about how many passengers can be carried for the two jets and if it's economic at the seat count. We use our aircraft model to take a deeper look.

  • The direct distance Sydney-London is 9,200nm the shortest way.
  • On a windy day, this will extend to over 10,000nm air distance when going West.
  • Both the A350-900URL and 777-8 can trade passengers for fuel to fly longer.
  • We look at where the corner points are and where the trade stops giving us more range.

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