In a move that could turn the Europe flight war on it’s head, this week the Aussie aviation giant Qantas has announced plans to introduce a non stop service from Perth to London. The plan wouldn’t come into effect until Qantas take delivery of their fleet of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners in 2017 – 8 in total. They are the latest, most sophisticated aircraft we’ve seen to date.
The chief of Qantas, Allan Joyce has said this week that the 787 could do the 14,000km journey in 19 hours which would potentially be one of the longest flights anywhere in the world, up there with Qantas’ other service from Dallas – Fort Worth to Sydney (16.5hrs) and the China Southern service from LAX to Guangzhou, China. (15.5hrs) The 787 will seat between 210 and 250 people, depending on cabin configurations. I flew on one last year with Norwegian Airlines from Copenhagen to Fort Lauderdale in Florida and I was impressed by the flight, levels of comfort and all of the on board tech.
You might look at the graphic above and think – 14,000km in 19 hours, on only TWO engines?! Crazy right? Well, no, the new 787 Dreamliner does it by using 20% less fuel thanks to advanced aerodynamics, lightweight structure and more efficient engines. A lower cabin altutude of 6,000ft is also used which is healthier for passengers, there are also bigger windows, LED lighting and cleaner, healthier air on board thanks to special filtration that removes the bacteria. There is an eye to less noise thanks to a quieter air conditioning unit, advanced vibration isolation and new inlet/fan designs in the engines to help eliminate the “buzzsaw” noise. Though my personal favourite is the “no window blinds” trick where instead of a blind, the window is able to be shaded over when it’s dark thanks to the LED lighting, reducing the weight and making the plane more economical.
Turbulence also isn’t as much of a factor on board due to the 787 being equipped with Smoother Ride Technology. This system senses turbulence and commands wing control surfaces to counter it, smoothing out the ride. Passengers enjoy a more comfortable flight, with a huge reduction in passengers who experience motion sickness. Compared to other planes, the 787 emits fewer emissions, is quieter in the skies which is great news if you live near an airport and it’s also fully recyclable at the end of it’s service life.
The potential flight path would need two pairs of pilots, extra cabin crew and a proper rest area for airline staff. To make the long haul journey in 19 hours, the planes most likely would need to fly over Crimea which is currently a no-fly-zone since the Malaysia Airlines aircraft was shot down last year. Prices for these flights aren’t known yet but they are sure to be a winner, to be able to bypass the customary Asian or Middle Eastern stop over and get your European holiday started at least 3-4 hours earlier is bound to get bums on seats.