Hard on the heels of its plans to commence non-stop London-Perth service and numerous other announcements, Qantas today laid out plans to launch nonstop service to the moon from Australia by 2022, subject to a suitable aircraft being created by then.
With the comfort of a healthy cash balance following two years of record profits, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has launched ‘Project Moonrise’, challenging the CEOs of aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, along with Tesla to “deliver an aircraft capable of flying regular nonstop services to the moon from key destinations around Australia with a full payload “.
Mr Joyce has attracted the support of US entrepreneur Elon Musk to assist in exploring this bold new frontier. Mr Musk, who is in the process of powering the entire State of South Australia with his new gen battery packs, said he was excited to be working with Qantas on this “last frontier in global aviation”. He saw this as “a really exciting first step towards achieving my ambition of establishing a new world on Mars.”
Mr Joyce sees the prospective operation as a “revolution for air travel in Australia” and a natural progression as the flag carrier goes to extreme lengths to satisfy consumer demand. According to Mr Joyce, the airline would be capable of launching passenger services to the moon as soon as the necessary technical advances are in place; market research has established there is a clear demand for the operation.
And, with recent breakthroughs in private space travel, the Qantas CEO believes a five year time line is perfectly reasonable. “As electric battery technology capabilities are progressing in leaps and bounds, working with Elon Musk we can anticipate a wholly environmentally friendly operation, with minimal emissions”, Mr Joyce believes.
When Blue Swan Daily approached Mr Musk for further comment he was temporarily unavailable as he was working on a new tunnel to provide ultra rapid tube train service between San Francisco and London. Airbus and Boeing spokesmen each expressed enthusiasm for the concept and noted they were already approaching their respective governments for subsidies to underwrite the project.
Sir Richard Branson, who has also been keen to launch things into space, said he was “underwhelmed by the news”, saying he has been working secretly on this project “for years” and believed Virgin Atlantic (together with its consortium of American, French and Chinese owners) would be first to reach the moon with commercial passenger services.
Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Trumbull, said the Australian government was right behind the idea at a respectful distance. “When it comes to the proving flights, we have several Coalition members we can offer to occupy the right wing of the flights and I shall work to encourage members of the opposition to balance this off on the other side.” While this would be an attractive proposition for most Australians, there is little likelihood that such undertakings can be relied upon. Mr Trumbull is 39.
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