STORY: Qantas Airways is launching the world's longest nonstop commercial flight from Sydney to London, and it's picked up a dozen Airbus jets for the ride.
CEO Alan Joyce announced the multibillion-dollar deal Monday, with flights set to kick off in late 2025.
"This is a big day for Qantas, it's a big day for Australian aviation, I think it's a big day for world aviation. Today, Qantas is making the biggest aircraft order in its history."
Qantas shares surged to their highest in months on the news, which comes as the Australian airline predicted a strong recovery in the domestic market -- amid signs of a bounceback in international travel.
Joyce says those signals gave the airline the confidence it needed to make the big bet on its future.
"We always said that Qantas needed to transform to survive, we were 11 weeks from going bankrupt in 2020 but we also had to do this to make sure that we took the opportunities when the market recovered and we could grab those opportunities. And today, we also made a market announcement of how Qantas is performing and we've seen unbelievable demand coming back, both domestically and internationally."
The Qantas order marks the culmination of its "Project Sunrise" challenge between Airbus and rival Boeing to create aircraft capable of the record-breaking flights, which Airbus won in late 2019.
The Qantas planes will have around 100 fewer seats than rivals British Airways and Cathay Pacific, but will be specially configured to carry extra premium seating.