The recent New to Sydney extra-long-haul test flight by an almost empty Qantas 767 garnered a lot of publicity. It was actually only an hour and a half longer than the regular SIA Singapore to New York flight with an Airbus A350.
No doubt lessons were learnt regarding how the monitored 40 passengers and crew found the experience. It would also have been a first step in trying get the pilot and cabin crew unions to agree to terms.
One thing that seems to have been overlooked amidst all the hullabaloo is that Qantas were talking about what they call “Operation Sunrise” (Non-stops from Australia’s East Coast to London and New York) starting–subject to them being considered financially profitable–starting in 2022. However, they now seem to be talking about them starting in 2023, if they do.C
Could this be because they are determined to keep Boeing in the running? Airbus with their A350 would surely be ready for a start in 2022.
One reason for Qantas’s hesitation may be the Rolls Royce engines on the A350, though these seem to have been performing well unlike many on 767. Qantas were not happy with that engine maker’s response to the disintegration of one of their engines that had it not been for the outstanding performance of the crew might well have resulted in the loss of an A380 superjumbo.
As we say in the piece in our book on QF32, Rolls Royce initially did not say much about the possible cause because BP had got into a lot of trouble through saying too much after the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster. Qantas retorted that it was not that BP said too much they said the wrong things.
Whatever the truth, it is is difficult to see how Qantas can come to a decision about the choice of aircraft as promised before the end of the year. What is certain, Boeing will be offering great prices.