Australia’s flag carrier and its largest airline by fleet size, Qantas Airways, has announced that it had opted for Airbus’ A350-1000 aircraft for its upcoming nonstop Sydney to London service that is expected to begin in the first half of 2023. The planned service will be the world’s longest commercial flight when launched.
Qantas said it would make a final decision in March of 2020 on whether to proceed with an order for up to 12 A350-1000 jets fitted with an extra fuel tank to handle flights of up to 21 hours.
The airline’s Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the carrier has a lot of confidence in the aircraft. “The A350 is a fantastic aircraft and the deal on the table with Airbus gives us the best possible combination of commercial terms, fuel efficiency, operating cost and customer experience,” he said.
Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer thanked Qantas for its selection, while a Boeing spokesman said it is disappointed with the decision but looks forward to continuing its longstanding partnership with the airline.
The selection of Airbus jets could add to growing doubts over Boeing’s plans to produce the 777-8, which it proposed to Qantas for the mission.