From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Qantas Boeing 787-9 among British Airways aircraft at Heathrow Airport

The Kangaroo Route is a term coined by Qantas, referring to the commercial passenger air routes flown between Australia and the United Kingdom via the Eastern Hemisphere. [1]

The route has been operated since 1934, [2] but found its name in 1944 from the unique mode of travel of the kangaroo, as the route's "hops" were reminiscent of a kangaroo's hops both use to cover long distances. [3] The term is trademarked and traditionally used by Qantas, [4] although it is often used in the media and by airline competitors to describe all Australia to United Kingdom flights.

In addition to Qantas, by 2003, over 20 airlines operated routes connecting Australia and the UK, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines [5] with most involving a single transfer between flights at their respective hubs. Only British Airways and Qantas offer through direct flights (not requiring passengers to change plane en route), both making a fuel stop at Singapore Changi Airport as of 2024.

Qantas commenced operating non-stop flights from Perth to London with Boeing 787s on 25 March 2018. This ended the era of the continents of Europe and Oceania not being connected by non-stop flights, marking the first time that all of the world's continents, excluding Antarctica, are connected by non-stop flights. [6] [7]

Origins of the name

Qantas Logo for its "Kangaroo Service", used from 1944-1947 [8]

Qantas operated the Australian part of the Kangaroo Route for nine years before coining (and later trademarking) the name.

After starting airmail operations between Brisbane and Singapore in 1934, [9] Qantas began operating passenger flights connecting Brisbane to Singapore in 1935 following successful awarding of the Australian government's tender. [10] [11]

After disruption to the route due to the emerging hostilities of World War II, the connectivity was famously restored by Qantas with its " Double Sunrise" service connectivity between Perth and Ceylon on the Indian Ocean Route with Catalina flying boats in 1943. [12] With the addition of the land based Liberator aircraft to the route in 1944, the "Indian Ocean Route" was officially renamed "The Kangaroo Service" [13] [9] [14] [15] by Qantas' Managing Director Hudson Fysh and pilot Bill Crowther; a play on words of the aviation term "hop" (referring to a leg of a route), and the hop of a kangaroo, an Australian icon. [16]

Along with the newly created Qantas logo of the flying kangaroo, the terms "Kangaroo Service" and "Kangaroo Route" [17] [18] [19] [20] were trademarked by Qantas and became the airline's branded term to describe Qantas' Australia-United Kingdom connectivity. [21] [22]

A significant milestone in 1947 when Qantas began operating the entire Kangaroo Route independently.  This April 1947 inauguration is referred to as the birth date of the Kangaroo Route by Qantas, even though it had been operating a part of that route for almost a decade. [23]

History

Advertisement for the Qantas Singapore service using the De Havilland 86

Early years (1935–1940)

A QEA De Havilland 86 at Mt. Isa, operating the Kangaroo Route circa 1937.
A QEA De Havilland 86 at Mt. Isa, operating the Kangaroo Route circa 1937.
The QEA Short S23 Empire Flying Boat "Cooee", which inaugurated Qantas' seaplane-operated Kangaroo Route service to Singapore on July 5, 1938. [24]

In 1935 Qantas started flying passengers to Singapore in a De Havilland 86 to connect with London-bound Imperial Airways. London to Brisbane service commenced on 13 April 1935. Imperial Airways and Qantas Empire Airways opened the 12,754-mile (20,526 km) London to Brisbane route for passengers for a single fare £195 (equivalent to $21,300 in 2022). There were no through bookings on the first service because of heavy sector bookings, but there were two through passengers on the next flight that left London on 20 April. The route opened for passengers from Brisbane to London on 17 April; flights were weekly and the journey time was 1212 days. [25] [26]

Eastbound passengers from London would first fly from Croydon to Paris, take an overnight train to Brindisi, and fly onward with stops at Athens, Alexandria (overnight), Gaza, Baghdad (overnight), Basra, Kuwait, Bahrain, Sharjah (overnight), Gwadar, Karachi, Jodhpur (overnight), Delhi, Cawnpore, Allahabad, Calcutta (overnight), Akyab, Rangoon, Bangkok (overnight), Alor Star, Singapore (overnight), Batavia, Sourabaya, Rambang (overnight), Koepang, Darwin (overnight), Longreach (overnight), and Charleville. [27] London-Karachi was operated by Imperial Airways, Karachi-Singapore jointly by Imperial and Indian Trans-Continental Airways, and Singapore-Brisbane by Qantas. [28]

Wartime modified operations (1940–1946)

Impediment and interruption due to WWII (June 1940 – Feb 1942)

On June 11, 1940, Italy entered WWII and the Kangaroo Route connection across the Mediterranean Sea from Egypt was severed with the resulting loss of all access to commercial air routes. [29] [30] While direct passenger air connectivity was lost, previous contingency plans were put into action, utilising the structure of the " Horseshoe Route" that connected Australia and England for passengers and airmail via Durban, South Africa where passengers would connect to steamboat service. [31] [32] This service was swiftly started just 8 days later with the first flight leaving Australia on June 19, 1940 [33] and continuing its operation, modifying as necessary until its final reserve route ("Reserve Route 3") via Broome was lost on February 15, 1942 with the fall of Singapore. [34]

Plans for restoration of the connectivity were started in early 1943, resulting in the ideation, equipping, and successful testing of what would become the Double Sunrise service. [30] Earlier in 1939 an alternative route via the Indian Ocean was proposed and designed by the Australian Government for potential use in case of emergency. [35] The designed route was Port Hedland - Batavia - Christmas Island - Cocos Island - Diego Garcia - The Seychelles - Mombasa. [30] [32] This route was surveyed and tested in June 1939 but would ultimately not be used, in part as Batavia had already fallen in March 1942 in the Battle of Java (1942). [36] [30]

Innovation and resumption via "The Double Sunrise" (July 1943 – July 1945)

The QEA Catalina G-AGFL "Altair Star" flying along the coast of Ceylon at the conclusion of a 'Double Sunrise' flight from Australia which operated from July 1943-July 1945.
The QEA Catalina G-AGFL "Altair Star" flying along the coast of Ceylon at the conclusion of a 'Double Sunrise' flight from Australia which operated from July 1943-July 1945.

On July 29, 1943, Qantas resumed the kangaroo route's modified operation, using a fleet of 5 Consolidated PBY Catalina aircraft to cross the Indian ocean nonstop. The planned route was for flights between Crawley, Western Australia, and RAF Base Koggala in southern Ceylon. Designed to exploit the Catalina's extreme flight range, the flights became the longest non-stop commercial air route, covering over 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 kilometres; 4,000 miles) across the Indian Ocean. Navigated without the aid of radio, the crews relied solely on rudimentary navigation by compass and stars during the trip. Taking between 27 and 33 hours, with departure timed so that the flight crossed Japanese occupied territory during darkness, the crew and passengers would observe the sunrise twice, which led to the service being known as " The Double Sunrise". [37] The Double Sunrise flights remain the longest (in terms of airtime) commercial flights in history.

Initially, passengers and mail were then transferred via ground transport from Galle to Karachi connecting with BOAC service onwards to London. In November 1943, this was replaced by adding an additional hop to the kangaroo route operated by the Qantas Catalinas up the Indian coast to Karangi Creek in Karachi. [37]

The first QEA Liberator G-AGKT refuelling at Learmonth Airport prior to departing for Colombo in 1945. This was the first plane to have the new Qantas Kangaroo logo applied to it (below cockpit window). [38]

In June 1944, Qantas augmented the Kangaroo Route's Catalina service with an additional route operated by converted Consolidated Liberator bombers. The Liberators flew from Perth to Learmonth before flying a shorter 3,077 mi (4,952 km) over-water route to an airfield northeast of Colombo, but they could make the journey in 17 hours with 5,500 pounds (2,500 kg) of payload, whereas the Catalinas usually required at least 27 hours and their payload was limited to only 1,000 pounds (450 kg). This route was named 'The Kangaroo Service' and was the genesis for the Kangaroo Route's naming. It also marked the first time that Qantas's now-famous Kangaroo logo was used; passengers received a certificate proclaiming them as members of The Order of the Longest Hop. [39]

In June 1945, Avro Lancastrians were introduced on the England–Australia service, and the Liberators and Catalinas were soon shifted to other Qantas routes. The Catalina operated Double Sunrise service ended on 18 July 1945. [40]

Route normalization - Western legs (May 1945)

On May 30, 1945 - following the end of the war in the European Theatre, Lancastrian operated flights by BOAC resumed from Hurn Airport in southern England, connecting in Karachi to Qantas' operated service which flew via Karachi - Minneriya (Ceylon) - Learmonth to Sydney. [41] [30] Covering the Kangaroo Route in a scheduled time of 70 hours. [42]

Route normalization - Eastern legs (April 1946)

On April 7, 1946 - Qantas ended its Indian Ocean Service, and reverted the Kangaroo Route back via Darwin and Singapore. [43] For the first time flying directly from Sydney to Darwin to Singapore, eliminating all previous domestic Australian stops. [44] BOAC and Qantas service combined to operate the Kangaroo Route from Sydney to London time in a new record of 63 hours. [45]

Multiple stops (1947–1973)

The Qantas Super Constellation "Southern Mist" landing at Heathrow Airport in 1955 after operating the Kangaroo route in 9 hops.
A Qantas Boeing 707 behind a De Havilland Comet of British Overseas Airways Corporation at Heathrow in 1963

In 1947, Qantas took over complete operation of the route from Australia to The United Kingdom utilizing their new Lockheed Constellations. BOAC would continue to run its own service in parallel. Qantas first flew the Kangaroo Route on 1 December 1947. A Lockheed Constellation carried 29 passengers and 11 crew from Sydney to London with stops in Darwin, Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo, and Tripoli (passengers stayed overnight in Singapore and Cairo). [46] A return fare was £585 (equivalent to $44,700 in 2022), equivalent to 130 weeks average pay. [47]

In the 1950s and 1960s some Qantas Kangaroo Routes featured other stops, including Frankfurt, Zürich, Rome, Athens, Beirut, Tehran, Bombay, and Colombo. [48] [49] In May 1958 the Kangaroo Route had 11 westward flights a week: four Qantas Super Constellations, four BOAC Britannias, and one Air India Super Constellation from Sydney to London, one KLM Super Constellation Sydney to Amsterdam, and one TAI Douglas DC-6B Auckland to Paris. In February 1959 Qantas' fastest Super Constellation took 63 hr 45 min Sydney to Heathrow and BOAC's Britannia took 49 hr 25 min. Jet flights (Qantas with Boeing 707) started in 1959; in April 1960 the fastest trip from Sydney to London was 34 hr 30 min with eight stops.

In the late 1950s, Qantas had a round-the-world network, flying Australia to Europe westward on the Kangaroo Route and eastward on the Southern Cross Route (via the Pacific Ocean). [1] In 1964 Qantas started a third route to London via Tahiti, Mexico, and the Caribbean, called the Fiesta Route. [50] Qantas dropped its Southern Cross Route and Fiesta Route in 1975. By 1969, Qantas had 11 Kangaroo Route flights a week from Sydney to London, taking 29–32 hours with 5–6 stops each; BOAC's 7-9 weekly flights previously had 7 stops.

In 1971 Qantas added Boeing 747s, reducing the travel time and number of stops (in the late 1970s flights typically stopped at Singapore and Bahrain). Fares fell, opening air travel to more people with more competition.

One-stop flights (1974–2018)

A Qantas Boeing 747-400 over London
A Qantas Airbus A380 at Heathrow

In April 1974 Qantas commenced operating a one stop service from Perth to London with only one stop in Bombay with Boeing 707s. [51] [52]

In 1989 Qantas set a world distance record for commercial jets when a Boeing 747-400, the City of Canberra (VH-OJA), flew non-stop from London to Sydney in just over 20 hours (with special fuel [53] and without passengers or cargo). This was the only nonstop flight ever made between both cities for the next 3 decades. [54]

As part of a new partnership with Emirates, Qantas announced that its services to London would stop in Dubai rather than Singapore, beginning in 2013. [55] Qantas also announced that its services to Frankfurt via Singapore would end in April 2013, leaving London as its only European destination. [56]

After years of low demand and less popularity on Dubai services, Qantas flights on the traditional Kangaroo Route from Sydney to London reverted to a stopover in Singapore instead of Dubai on 25 March 2018. Five years after the change to fly through Dubai, Qantas uses the Airbus A380 on its flagship route QF1/2, between Sydney and London via Singapore. [57]

Non-stop flights (2018– )

Qantas selected the A350-1000 for non-stop flights

Non-stop flights from Perth to London commenced in March 2018 with Boeing 787s, [58] with the Kangaroo route becoming a non-stop route for the first time, while also connecting Australia and Europe via a non-stop route for the first time. These flights operate out of Perth's Terminal 3 rather than the traditional T1 in order to facilitate seamless transfers from Qantas domestic flights. The non-stop service forms part of Qantas' secondary Kangaroo route QF9/10, between Melbourne and London via Perth. The route also opens up the possibility of further direct flights to Europe from Perth such as Paris and Frankfurt. In June 2022, Qantas launched a non-stop seasonal service from Perth to Rome. [59]

In late March 2020, prior to Qantas cutting all international services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several repatriation flights were operated by the Airbus A380, routed as Sydney- Darwin-London. The Singaporean government had banned transit passengers and airspace in the Middle East was closed, due to the pandemic. [60] This was the first time an Airbus A380 flew nonstop between Europe and Oceania.

In November 2021, Qantas resumed non-stop Kangaroo Route flights, this time from Darwin to London [61] before resuming the non-stop route between Perth and London in May 2022 following the reopening of Western Australia for international travel. [62]

Qantas' evolution of the Kangaroo Route

Since its founding in 1935, Qantas has evolved the Kangaroo Route over time in terms of "hops" (routings), duration, and aircraft used. Illustrated in the below table are snapshots of that ongoing evolution over the years.

Year Number of stops Total duration note Route (From-via-To) Aircraft and operator Passengers
1935 38 [63] [64] [65] 12.5 days [63] [66] [67] [68] [69] Brisbane
Stops 1-17 operated by Qantas Empire Airways
  • 1. Roma
  • 2. Charleville
  • 3. Blackall
  • 4. Longreach
  • 5. Winton
  • 6. Cloncurry
  • 7. Mt. Isa
  • 8. Camooweal
  • 9. Brunette Downs
  • 10. Newcastle Waters
  • 11. Daly Waters
  • 12. Darwin
  • 13. Koepang (Kupang, Indonesia)
  • 14. Rambang (Lombok, Indonesia)
  • 15. Sourabaya (Surabaya, Indonesia)
  • 16. Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia)
  • 17. Singapore
Stops 18-27 operated by Indian Trans-Continental Airways
  • 18. Alor Setar, Kedah (Malaysia)
  • 19. Bangkok
  • 20. Rangoon (Yangon)
  • 21. Akyab (Sittwe)
  • 22. Calcutta (Kolkata)
  • 23. Allahabad
  • 24. Cawnpore (Kanpur)
  • 25. Delhi
  • 26. Jodhpur
  • 27. Karachi
Stops 28-38 operated by Imperial Airways
  • 28. Gwadar
  • 29. Sharjah (Sharjah, UAE)
  • 30. Bahrain
  • 31. Basra
  • 32. Baghdad
  • 33. Gaza, Palestine (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • 34. Alexandria
  • 35. Mirabello
  • 36. Athens
  • 37. Brindisi
  • 38. Paris via Train

Croydon (then train to London)

De Havilland 86 (Qantas Empire Airways) [70] [71]
Armstrong Whitworth Atalanta (Indian Trans-continental Airways)
Handley Page H.P.42 "Hannibal" (Imperial Airways)
Handley Page H.P.45 "Heracles" (Imperial Airways) [72]
9 [70]
1937 41 [69] [64] 12.5 days [73] Brisbane
Stops 1-18 operated by Qantas Empire Airways
  • 1. Roma
  • 2. Charleville
  • 3. Blackall
  • 4. Longreach
  • 5. Winton
  • 6. Cloncurry
  • 7. Mt. Isa
  • 8. Camooweal
  • 9. Avon Downs
  • 10. Newcastle Waters
  • 11. Daly Waters
  • 12. Katherine
  • 13. Darwin
  • 14. Koepang (Kupang, Indonesia)
  • 15. Rambang (Lombok, Indonesia)
  • 16. Sourabaya (Surabaya, Indonesia)
  • 17. Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia)
  • 18. Singapore
Stops 19-28 operated by Indian Trans-Continental Airways
  • 19. Penang
  • 20. Bangkok
  • 21. Rangoon (Yangon)
  • 22. Akyab (Sittwe)
  • 23. Calcutta (Kolkata)
  • 24. Allahabad
  • 25. Cawnpore (Kanpur)
  • 26. Delhi
  • 27. Jodhpur
  • 28. Karachi
Stops 29-41 operated by Imperial Airways
  • 29. Gwadar
  • 30. Sharjah (Sharjah, UAE)
  • 31. Bahrain
  • 32. Kuwait
  • 33. Basra
  • 34. Baghdad
  • 35. Gaza, Palestine (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • 36. Alexandria
  • 37. Athens
  • 38. Brindisi
  • 39. Rome
  • 40. Marseilles
  • 41. Macon

Southampton, England (then train to London)

De Havilland 86 (Qantas Empire Airways)
Armstrong Whitworth Atalanta (Indian Trans-continental Airways)
Handley Page H.P.42 "Hannibal" (Imperial Airways)
Handley Page H.P.45 "Heracles" (Imperial Airways)
9
1938 35 [74] [75] 9 days 20 hours [74] Sydney
Stops 1-12 operated by Qantas Empire Airways
  • 1. Brisbane
  • 2. Gladstone
  • 3. Townsville
  • 4. Karumba
  • 5. Groote Eylandt
  • 6. Darwin
  • 7. Koepang (Kupang, Indonesia)
  • 8. Bima (Bima, Indonesia)
  • 9. Sourabaya (Surabaya, Indonesia)
  • 10. Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia)
  • 11. Klabat Bay (Belinyu, Indonesia)
  • 12. Singapore
Stops 13-35 operated by Imperial Airways
  • 13. Penang
  • 14. Koh Samui
  • 15. Bangkok
  • 16. Rangoon (Yangon)
  • 17. Akyab (Sittwe)
  • 18. Calcutta (Kolkata)
  • 19. Allahabad
  • 20. Gwalior
  • 21. Rajsamand
  • 22. Karachi
  • 23. Gwadar
  • 24. Dubai (Dubai, UAE)
  • 25. Bahrain
  • 26. Basra
  • 27. Habbaniyeh
  • 28. Tiberias, Palestine (Tiberias, Israel)
  • 29. Alexandria
  • 30. Mirabello
  • 31. Athens
  • 32. Brindisi
  • 33. Rome
  • 34. Marseilles
  • 35. St. Nazaire

Southampton, England (then train to London)

15 [76] [78]
1947 6 [79] [75] 3 days 20 hours [79] [80] Sydney
  1. Darwin
  2. Singapore
  3. Calcutta (Kolkata)
  4. Karachi
  5. Cairo
  6. Tripoli

London

Lockheed Constellation [79] [81] 29 [75] [82]
1955 8 [83] 3 days 6 hours [83] Sydney
  1. Darwin
  2. Jakarta
  3. Singapore
  4. Bangkok
  5. Calcutta (Kolkata)
  6. Karachi
  7. Cairo
  8. Rome

London

Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation 57 [84] [85]
1959 8 [86] 38 hours [86] Sydney
  1. Darwin
  2. Singapore
  3. Bangkok
  4. Calcutta (Kolkata)
  5. Karachi
  6. Bahrain
  7. Cairo
  8. Rome

London

Boeing 707-138 120 [75] [85]
1965 5 [87] 30 hours [87] Sydney
  1. Singapore
  2. Calcutta (Kolkata)
  3. Karachi
  4. Cairo
  5. Rome

London

Boeing 707-320 220 [84]
1971 2 [88] 26 hours [89] Sydney
  1. Singapore
  2. Bahrain

London

Boeing 747-200B 356 [90] [91]
1977 1 [88] 23 hours [75] Perth
  1. Bombay (Mumbai)

London

Boeing 747-200B [92] 436 [93]
1990 1 [94] 24 hours [84] Sydney
  1. Singapore

London

Boeing 747-400 412 [95]
2013 1 [96] 23 hours 30 min [97] Sydney
  1. Dubai (aka ˈThe Falcon Routeˈ) [98]

London

Airbus A380-800 [97] 484 [99] [84]
2018 0 17 hours 20 min [100] Perth

London

Boeing 787-9 236 [101]
2025 0 [102] 20 hours (estimated) [103] Sydney

London

Airbus A350-1000 238 [104]

Note: ^ Duration is total elapsed travel time westbound (including stops)

Other competing Australia to United Kingdom one-stop flights

While The "Kangaroo Route" is a trademarked term belonging to Qantas, it is often used by the media, other operators and even Qantas themselves to refer to all flights between Australia and the United Kingdom.

Between 2003 and 2004, around 20 additional other airlines operated services between Australia and the United Kingdom including Air China, Air India, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines.

Forming a competitive market, there are over 20 airlines operating competing one-stop flights from Australia to the United Kingdom via the Eastern Hemisphere as seen in the table below:

Table of other competing one-stop Australia-United Kingdom flights
Origin in Australia Airline Intermediate Stop/Transit Hub Destination in United Kingdom
Australia Adelaide Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha United Kingdom Birmingham
United Kingdom Edinburgh
United Kingdom London–Gatwick
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong United Kingdom London–Heathrow
Malaysia Airlines [107] Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
Qantas [108] Australia Perth
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong United Kingdom Manchester
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
Australia Brisbane Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha United Kingdom Birmingham
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha United Kingdom Edinburgh
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom Glasgow
China Eastern [111] [112] China Shanghai–Pudong United Kingdom London–Gatwick
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong United Kingdom London–Heathrow
China Airlines [113] Taiwan Taipei–Taoyuan
China Eastern [111] [112] China Shanghai–Pudong
China Southern [114] [115] China Guangzhou
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Korean Air [116] South Korea Seoul–Incheon
Malaysia Airlines [107] Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
Qantas [117] [108] Australia Perth
Singapore Singapore
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom London–Stansted
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong United Kingdom Manchester
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom Newcastle
Australia Cairns Qantas [108] Australia Perth United Kingdom London–Heathrow
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
Singapore Airlines [109] United Kingdom Manchester
Australia Canberra Qantas [108] Australia Perth United Kingdom London–Heathrow
Australia Darwin Qantas [108] Australia Perth United Kingdom London–Heathrow
Qantas [117] Singapore Singapore
Singapore Airlines [109] United Kingdom Manchester
Australia Melbourne Air India [118] India New Delhi United Kingdom Birmingham
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha United Kingdom Edinburgh
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom Glasgow
China Eastern [111] China Shanghai–Pudong United Kingdom London–Gatwick
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Air China [119] China Beijing–Capital United Kingdom London–Heathrow
Air India [118] [120] [121] India Mumbai
India New Delhi
Asiana Airlines [122] [note 1] South Korea Seoul–Incheon
Beijing Capital Airlines [124] China Qingdao
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong
China Airlines [113] Taiwan Taipei–Taoyuan
China Eastern [111] China Shanghai–Pudong
China Southern [114] China Guangzhou
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways [125] United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi
Malaysia Airlines [107] Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
Qantas [117] [108] Australia Perth
Singapore Singapore
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Royal Brunei Airlines [126] Brunei Brunei
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
SriLankan Airlines [127] Sri Lanka Colombo
Thai Airways [128] Thailand Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Vietnam Airlines [129] [130] Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam Hanoi
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom London–Stansted
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong United Kingdom Manchester
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways [125] United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom Newcastle
Australia Perth Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom Birmingham
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Qatar Airways [105] United Kingdom Edinburgh
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom Glasgow
Emirates [110] United Kingdom London–Gatwick
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Air Mauritius [131] Mauritius Port Louis United Kingdom London–Heathrow
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Malaysia Airlines [107] Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
Qantas [132] [117] Non-Stop
Singapore Singapore
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
Vietnam Airlines [129] [133] Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom London–Stansted
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong United Kingdom Manchester
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom Newcastle
Australia Sydney Air India [118] India New Delhi United Kingdom Birmingham
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Qatar Airways [105] United Kingdom Edinburgh
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom Glasgow
China Eastern [111] China Shanghai–Pudong United Kingdom London–Gatwick
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Air China [119] China Beijing–Capital United Kingdom London–Heathrow
Air India [118] India New Delhi
All Nippon Airways [134] Japan Tokyo–Haneda
Asiana Airlines [122] South Korea Seoul–Incheon
Beijing Capital Airlines [124] China Qingdao
British Airways [135] Singapore Singapore
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong
China Airlines [113] Taiwan Taipei–Taoyuan
China Eastern [111] China Shanghai–Pudong
China Southern [114] China Guangzhou
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways [125] United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi
Japan Airlines [136] Japan Tokyo–Haneda
Korean Air [116] South Korea Seoul-Incheon
Malaysia Airlines [107] Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
Qantas [117] [108] Australia Perth
Singapore Singapore
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
SriLankan Airlines [127] Sri Lanka Colombo
Thai Airways [128] Thailand Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Tianjin Airlines [137] [138] China Chongqing
Vietnam Airlines [129] [130] Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam Hanoi
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom London–Stansted
Cathay Pacific [106] Hong Kong Hong Kong United Kingdom Manchester
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways [125] United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi
Qatar Airways [105] Qatar Doha
Singapore Airlines [109] Singapore Singapore
Emirates [110] United Arab Emirates Dubai–International United Kingdom Newcastle

Project Sunrise

On 25 August 2017, Qantas announced Project Sunrise, aiming to fly non-stop from the East Coast of Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane) to London, Paris, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro and New York City by 2022, and challenged Boeing and Airbus to create aircraft that can travel to such places without stopping. [139] In 2019, Qantas issued a request for proposal for an aircraft with over 300 seats in four classes, to be delivered from 2022. [140] Both Boeing and Airbus submitted proposals in 2019. Boeing announced some delays in the B777-8 project in August 2019 after Etihad Airways dropped orders made in 2013, but the company made it clear that it remained in contention for Project Sunrise. [141]

On 18–20 October 2019, Qantas made a 19-hour test flight QF7879 with a Boeing 787-9 from New York to Sydney. [142] The next month, Qantas operated its first 19-20 hour test flight from London to Sydney using again a Boeing 787-9. [143] Two months later, on 13 December 2019, Qantas announced that their preferred aircraft for the project was the Airbus A350-1000. The aircraft will have an additional fuel tank and slightly increased MTOW to deliver the performance required on the Project Sunrise routes. Qantas stated they were working with Airbus to order up to 12 aircraft, with the final decision expected within 2020. [144]

On 5 May 2020, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce announced that Project Sunrise would be put on hold due to the impact of COVID-19 on global travel. [145] Qantas would review its project at the end of 2021, towards a 2024 start of the 21-hour flights, meaning a delay of one year. [146]

On 2 May 2022, Qantas placed a formal order for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft for Project Sunrise flights to commence in "late 2025" between its first two routes: Sydney to London, and Sydney to New York. [147] [148] The 238 seats will be split into 6 first class suites (three-abreast), 52 business class suites (four-abreast), 40 premium economy seats at 40″ pitch (eight-abreast) and 140 economy class seats at 33″ pitch (nine-abreast). [149] Qantas expects these ultra-long-haul flights to drive an annual earnings increase of A$400 million ($261 million) in the first full year with all 12 aircraft in service. [150]

In literature

The book Beyond the Blue Horizon by travel correspondent Alexander Frater documents the author's attempt to fly all the sectors on the original 1935 Imperial/Qantas London-Brisbane route in 1984.

See also

  • Southern Cross Route – the Kangaroo Route's counterpart traveling via the Western Hemisphere
  • Wallaby Route - Route launched by Qantas in 1952 connecting Sydney to Johannesburg
  • Fiesta Route - Qantas' route that existed from 1964-1975 connecting Sydney to London via Fiji, Tahiti, Acapulco, Mexico City, The Bahamas, and Bermuda. [151] [152]

Notes

  1. ^ Service ends on 29 Feb 2024 [123]

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Further reading