Delays with the next-generation Boeing 777 reportedly have prompted the aerospace giant to offer Australian airline Qantas a temporary measure as it mulls options for the longest flight in the world. Boeing (BA) stock rose.


Qantas will choose between the Boeing 777-8X and a version of the Airbus (EADSY) A350-1000ULR. But the new Boeing 777 plane has run into problems.

“While the 777-8X is likely to be delayed, Boeing have put a compelling proposition on the table,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told Bloomberg Wednesday. “Part of the Boeing proposal is an alternative that gives us a transition to the later delivery of the 777.”

Joyce wouldn’t go into details about what exactly Boeing offered as a temporary stopgap measure to work around the 777 delay.

Qantas’ “Project Sunrise” aims to be the longest route in the world, flying passengers nonstop from the east coast of Australia to London and New York.

The competition for bragging rights for the longest flight in the world is so intense that a Boeing executive likened the contest to the Cold War-era space race to be first to land on the moon.

The London-Sydney route is 20 hours and 20 minutes. The New York-Sydney route is 18 hours and 7 minutes, according to Bloomberg.

Boeing shares climbed 1.4% to 367.46 on the stock market today, moving above its 50-day line to end just below its 200-day. GE was flat while Airbus’ U.S.-listed shares rose 0.6% to a fresh record high.

Other Boeing 777 Suffers Delays Too

Meanwhile, another version of the next-generation Boeing 777, the 777-9, has been delayed until next year over issues with its General Electric (GE) engines.

So for now, Qantas is flying a 787 to conduct research flights as mulls its final decision for Project Sunrise.

On Thursday, Qantas launched a second research flight from London around 6 a.m. local time, flying a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. J

ust like the first test flight, which flew New York to Sydney, the jet had around 50 people including pilots, crew members and passengers as part of the experiment.

This time around, researchers are serving the passengers wine and dinner shortly after the 6 a.m. flight takes off from London. After dinner, passengers are encouraged to go to sleep by 10 a.m. London time to help them get better acclimated to Sydney time.

Another research flight is expected next month. Qantas expects to make a decision on the business case of the routes by the end of the year.

Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter @IBD_GRich for aviation news and more.


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