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The goal of a nonstop flight from Sydney to London -- half the way around the planet -- took a leap forward as the world’s top planemakers convinced Qantas Airways Ltd. they can make the 20-hour route a reality.

A year after Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce publicly challenged Boeing Co. and Airbus SE to design a plane capable of making a viable direct flight from Sydney to London or New York, he says the manufacturers have succeeded.


Alan JoycePhotographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg
“We’re now comfortable that we think we have vehicles that could do it,” Joyce said in an interview in Qantas’s central Sydney offices.

Project Sunrise, as Qantas calls it, involves configuring an aircraft so that it can fly about 300 passengers and their luggage farther than any regular service to date, with fuel in hand for unexpected headwinds and emergencies. If the first routes prove viable in 2022, direct connections from major cities in the Americas, Europe and Africa to Australia could follow.

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