Why New Jets Could Destroy Airlines

The global aviation map is about to shift in a way we’ve not seen in three decades.

Since the introduction of the Boeing Co. 747-400 in the late 1980s, the range limits and economics of long-haul jets have been more or less fixed. New fuel-efficient planes such as Boeing’s 787 and 777X and Airbus SE’s A350 are changing that.

Next year, Singapore Airlines Ltd. will restart direct flights to New York, and Qantas Airways Ltd. will make its first nonstop flights to the U.K. Soon, we could see direct routes between Singapore and Sao Paolo, London and Sydney, or Jakarta and Los Angeles — and that could make life surprisingly difficult for incumbent long-haul carriers.

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