Ultra long-haul routes are unlikely to become a major trend due to the lack of supporting markets.
That was the view of Fiji Airways general manager of network planning and strategy John Checketts, speaking at Routes Asia 2019 in Cebu, the Philippines, during a panel debate about the future of aviation in Asia.
He expressed his belief the recently launched Qantas flight from Perth to London would prove to be an exception, not a rule.
He added: “There’s a limited number of markets where that can work with that non-stop long-haul service. I don’t see a large market where people will travel for 20 hours to get [to Fiji].”
Checketts added the problem was further compounded by the fact the outbound market from the Pacific destination is not big enough to make up the shortfall.
Boeing’s regional director of network and fleet strategy Neil Hathni added the only markets where they could work were the ones where the passengers were prepared to pay the premium demanded in return for the convenience of a one-stop flight.
Qantas has reported its London-Perth connection is performing strongly and work is continuing on other potential ultra long-haul routes.