Airbus beats Boeing as Qantas’ preferred supplier for world’s longest flights

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Australia’s Qantas Airways has chosen Airbus’ A350-1000 planes for its planned non-stop Sydney to London service, which would be the world’s longest commercial flight.

The carrier said it would make a final decision in March 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 flights are expected to begin in the first half of 2023.

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the airline 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.

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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. The US plane maker is currently suffering a crisis over the grounding of its best-selling 737 MAX jet which was forced to stop flying earlier this year after two deadly crashes.

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