Qantas Airways' golden ambition could be on the horizon sooner than you think.
The Australian carrier, which is keen to deliver non-stop commercial flights from Sydney to London, thinks that ambition could be achieved within five years now Airbus and Boeing offer aircraft that are capable.
"These aircraft, we think, are potentially real goers on these routes," Alan Joyce, Qantas' chief executive, told Reuters, discussing the A350-900ULR and the Boeing 777-8.
"From what they have done on other aircraft... Sydney-London and Melbourne-London has real possibility," he said.
While the airline has yet to launch a formal tender process for the prestige order, as Boeing is yet to finalise the specifications on the 777-8, Joyce said the first flights will be possible in around 2022.
The route, which Joyce called "the most competitive on the globe", would shave off three hours of flight time and allow the airline to charge a premium, setting it apart from other airlines manning the route.
The route currently accounts for just 13 per cent of Qantas' international capacity, but carries the prestige QF1 flight number and has considerable value in terms of the airline's global brand.
Next year, Qantas starts non-stop flights from Perth to London using Boeing's 787-9 Dreamliner, which will take 17 hours. The airline will be able to offset the higher cost from more fuel by saving on stopover costs, as well as ground handling and taxes.
Joyce hailed the London-Perth development as a "game-changer".
The service took flight for the first time earlier this year, with the rest of the carrier's fleet of domestic Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft following from mid-2017 onwards.