Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingsford Smith) is studying the possibility of introducing ultra-longhaul flights from Australia to Europe. Speaking to Airline Ratings, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alan Joyce said the expansion would come following the arrival of its B787-9s and a potential order for A350-900(ULR)s or the B777-8s.

Routes that are being considered include Perth InternationalLondon Heathrow with the B787-9 and later on Sydney Kingsford SmithParis CDG and Melbourne TullamarineRome Fiumicino. Joyce said the Australian carrier had previously looked into launching flights to Southern Europe through its low cost arm Jetstar Airways (JQ, Melbourne Tullamarine) but decided against the move as it saw greater potential in the Asian market instead. Qantas currently covers a number of European destinations through its codeshare partnership with Emirates (EK, Dubai International) and itself serves London Heathrow from both Melbourne and Sydney via Dubai.

Qantas has acquired eight B787-9s to replace five of its older B747-400s in use on international routes. Four of the aircraft will arrive during the carrier's 2018 financial year - July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 - with the remainder due the following year - July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. Joyce recently said the airline is studying the A350-900(ULR) alongside the B777-8 for its longterm ultra-longhaul needs. Besides Europe, the carrier also plans to use the aircraft on flights to the United States.

“We talk about Europe a lot but people forget how big the US is for Qantas. Eventually with the aircraft in the next decade, you’ll have New York JFK direct and that means Chicago O'Hare direct”, he said. “That means a lot of destinations in the US that have the viability to have direct services start coming on to the radar screen”.