Qantas has denied that the ambitious proposal to fly to Sydney from London in an ultra long-haul jet will take off soon.
“The Dreamliner will go to Australia this year, as it will travel to Africa, Asia and the US before it arrives in Australia,” executive chairman Alan Joyce said when asked whether it would ever fly long-haul from London.
Joyce said Qantas would decide whether to fly Dreamliner routes from London at the end of the year.
The suggestion of sending a Qantas Dreamliner to Sydney comes amid a change in fortune for the financially troubled Australian airline, which has broken several corporate records in recent months.
Joyce said demand was strong and he was optimistic about the remainder of the year. “As an airline we are at a record level of profitability,” he said.
Sydney is the only Australian city with only one airline, Qantas, and if the concept of having two airlines flying to Sydney was to be implemented, Sydney International and a joint venture between Hong Kong Express and China Eastern would also have to be joined together, Joyce said.
The possibility of forming a joint venture between Sydney and Hong Kong, which is unlikely because they operate entirely separate flights, would be subject to government approval.
Qantas has seen significant growth in Asia with the launch of services to Jakarta, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai since December 2015.
On Sunday the airline said it would begin flying a new, 72-seat Airbus A330 between Singapore and Sydney from May 1, boosting its fleet of A330s to 16.
“Following the recent decision by our Japanese joint venture partner, Japan Airlines, to buy 10 of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB aircraft, we are very pleased to announce plans to further expand our operation to Singapore via Australia. This will allow us to have the best-in-class aircraft complement in the world, serving some of the fastest growing destinations for Australian business travellers,” Joyce said.
The Australian says Singapore routes make up about 13% of the 27,000 people Qantas flies per week to the city. The airline is expected to reduce its flying capacity in Australia this year due to the strong Australian dollar, from 1.94m seats to 1.87m seats.