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What's Next for the "Kangaroo Route"?

The "Kangaroo Route" has long symbolized the air bridge between Australia and the UK. With aviation technology advancing, we're on the cusp of even faster, more efficient travel. Imagine less time in the air and more enjoying your destination. What innovations will redefine this iconic journey? Join us as we examine the future of long-haul travel. What could these changes mean for you?

If you’re feeling the need to get away – and we mean really far away – you might consider booking a ticket from New York City to Singapore on the longest non-stop commercial flight in the world. The Singapore Airlines route covers 9,537 miles (15,348 km), keeping you in the friendly skies for just under 19 hours. Not far enough? By the end of 2025, you'll be able to fly for around 11,000 miles (17,703 km) aboard the first regularly scheduled nonstop Qantas flight to link Sydney with London, a marathon journey that will take between 19 and 20 hours. A Sydney-New York (JFK) route with a similar duration is also planned, which will cover around 10,000 miles (16,093 km).

Qantas, Australia's flag carrier, launched its so-called "Kangaroo Route" from Sydney to London in December 1947. The route got its name because of how many stops (or hops) it would have to make to connect the two cities. It took nearly four days and involved six stops (Darwin, Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo, and Tripoli) when it first launched.

At nearly 19 hours long, the route from Singapore to NYC is the longest nonstop commercial flight, though it will be surpassed by Sydney-London and Sydney-NYC in 2025.
At nearly 19 hours long, the route from Singapore to NYC is the longest nonstop commercial flight, though it will be surpassed by Sydney-London and Sydney-NYC in 2025.

Flash forward to the present, and Qantas has purchased a dozen Airbus A350-1000 jets especially for the new ultra-long-haul flights, capable of flying from Australia to any major city in the world without refueling. Known as Project Sunrise, the implementation of the Sydney-London and Sydney-New York routes was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, following successful test flights in 2019. Qantas already flies a nonstop route between Australia and the UK, a 17 hour 20 minute journey from Perth to London launched in 2018.

Just one "hop" this time:

  • Qantas says that the new planes will be quieter and emit less carbon dioxide than previous-generation aircraft, though the airline has also pledged to offset the still-considerable carbon emissions.

  • Each plane will have seating for 238 passengers. Forty percent of the available space will be dedicated to premium seating, with just 140 economy seats. Qantas says that all seats will be "roomier" than average, as there will be fewer passengers onboard than the aircraft's maximum capacity.

  • Flying for nearly 20 hours nonstop can take a toll, physically and mentally, with passengers on longer flights at greater risk of deep vein thrombosis. On the new routes, travelers will be able to access a "wellbeing zone" in the middle of the plane with a self-service snack bar and a screen displaying helpful exercises for stretching and moving around.

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    • At nearly 19 hours long, the route from Singapore to NYC is the longest nonstop commercial flight, though it will be surpassed by Sydney-London and Sydney-NYC in 2025.
      By: Tupungato
      At nearly 19 hours long, the route from Singapore to NYC is the longest nonstop commercial flight, though it will be surpassed by Sydney-London and Sydney-NYC in 2025.