'Last frontier'

Direct London-Sydney flights to launch in 2025

New planes will include a ‘wellbeing’ zone (Graphic: Qantas)

Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, is to begin the first non-stop flights between London and Sydney using a new fleet of 12 Airbus A350-1000 jets.

The 20-hour journey, set to launch in 2025, will be the world’s longest passenger flight and will offer 238 seats.

Each will have extra legroom to cater for the length of time passengers will be seated. The aircraft will also be fitted with a “wellbeing zone” with space for stretching and movement. First Class suites will have a bed, recliner lounge chair and a personal wardrobe.

The first flights between the two cities was in 1947 and once took 58 hours and seven stops. Even a single stop – which adds four hours to the current flight – is now deemed to be an inconvenience for many travellers who are used to flying direct to their destination.

“It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance that has traditionally challenged travel to Australia,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.

Codenamed Project Sunrise, the company’s plans were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. It began offering a 17-hour direct flight between London and Perth in Western Australia in 2017 and in 2019 conducted a series of test flights from the east coast to the UK and New York.

There is a direct flight between London’s Heathrow Airport and the Northern Territory city of Darwin which takes about 17 hours outbound, and 16 hours return.

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