Qantas to put us in the cargo hold?
WITH Qantas just kicking off the first direct flight from Australia to Europe on the weekend, it's clear that the airline is aiming sky-high with its fleet capabilities.
In fact, the 17-hour London to Perth trip seems to be just the start of the airline's ambitions. Yesterday, CEO Alan Joyce sent the industry into a spin with his comments at the Aviation Club in London about what's next for the carrier.
Under the airline's "Project Sunrise" plan for the next four years, Mr Joyce declared his desire to create even longer flights at - get ready for it - 20 hours plus. They would take passengers from Sydney to New York or Melbourne to London, direct, the Financial Review reported.
Awesome, but ouch! We can feel the aches and sheer exhaustion taking over our bodies already.
Mr Joyce has asked aircraft manufacturer Airbus and Boeing to work with the airline to create a "flexible super plane" to make such a feat possible. (Super plane or super pain, we wonder?) The Boeing 777-8X and the Airbus A350-900 are being considered for the job.
"It is also about getting an aircraft that not only can do Sydney-London, but at the same time the same aircraft is capable of being redirected to Sydney-Hong Kong or Sydney-Singapore," he said.
"It can't be too heavy, it can't be specialised too much."
And that's not all. You know the cargo hold, that mysterious part of the plane that we don't usually see? Well get ready - you could be seeing it a lot more soon.
To combat the inevitable discomfort economy passengers would experience on super long-haul flights, Mr Joyce proposed creating sleeping berths for passengers in the cargo hold, along with gyms.
"We are also looking at, do we need and should we have four classes? Is there a new class that's seated on the aircraft?" he said.
"Could some of the freight areas we may not use [for baggage] be used as an exercise area? Could they be used for berths for people to sleep in?"
Nothing is off the table, My Joyce said.
News.com.au has contacted Qantas for comment. It's too early for April Fool's, right?