Boris Johnson wants long-haul flights between London and Sydney

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is looking to establish so-called ‘air bridges’ with Dubai, Singapore and even Sydney in a desperate attempt to keep lucrative European summer holidays afloat this year.

According to The Sun, Mr Johnson is “looking at all the options personally” to get safe routes ready by the end of June. The plans would also look at negotiating deals with distant hubs in Dubai, Singapore and Sydney.

Last year, Qantas did its first series of ultra-long haul flights from London to Sydney and New York to Sydney as part of the Project Sunrise trial.

The designated research flights trialled strategies to combat jet-lag and improve overall health for passengers and crew before, during and after ultra-long haul flights and give the world a peek into what’s likely to be on the horizon for Aussie travellers and airline staff.

There are reports UK PM Boris Johnson is deeply involved in the plan to set up air bridges, potentially with Australia too. Picture: iStockSource:Supplied

But with COVID-19 decimating the airline industry and disrupting new route plans around the world, industry bodies have said a voice from someone like the British PM could “provide some real momentum” in getting planes back in the sky.

Paul Charles, spokesman for ‘Quash Quarantine’ – a group of more than 500 companies – are campaigning to overturn the 14-day quarantine rule that came into force in the UK on June 8. Mr Charles, who said travel companies in the UK are ready to start selling holidays from June 29, believes there will be enough demand from British holiday-makers to make a partial recovery.

Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Charles said corridors will be pan-European but agreed they may also include some long-haul destinations such as Singapore and Sydney.

“It has to be pan-European. You can’t have an air corridor between, say, the UK and Málaga, as there is nothing to stop someone driving from Málaga into France or Germany.”

While the air corridors will be pan-European, there may be inclusion of a long-haul destination to ports like Singapore and Sydney. Picture: iStockSource:Supplied

Earlier this week, both Qantas and Virgin Australia regrounded their remaining international passenger operations after government funding of overseas routes they were flying came to an end.

The network of international flights, which was designed to bring stranded Australians home from overseas during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, saw Virgin Australia’s final international flight return from Los Angeles on Tuesday, while Qantas’ final leg from the USA landed on Monday morning.

It is understood the Morrison Government is currently reviewing whether or not more overseas flights will need to be funded to bring stranded Aussies home, but at this stage the network has come to an end given residents should have made arrangements to return by now.

For now, the concentrated effort turns to the domestic network for both airlines, which has been extended to the end of September.

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