Qantas Places Project Sunrise Aircraft Order

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Australian airline Qantas confirmed on Monday that it has placed an order for 12 Airbus A350-1000s to be used for the airline’s “Project Sunrise” ultra-long-haul flights. Delayed from the planned start date of 2023 by COVID-19, the project’s nonstop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to destinations such as London and New York are now scheduled to begin in 2025. Qantas selected the A350 in December 2019 after also considering Boeing’s 777X.

“New types of aircraft make new things possible,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. “That’s what makes today’s announcement so significant for the national carrier and for a country like Australia where air travel is crucial. The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just one flight away from Australia.”

In preparation for its new routes, Qantas conducted a series of research flights using lightly loaded Boeing 787-9s to gather data on passenger and crew health during ultra-long-haul trips. The airline says its Project Sunrise aircraft will carry 238 passengers across four classes and include a “Wellbeing Zone,” which will feature space for stretching and a self-serve snack station. In addition to the A350-1000s, Qantas ordered 20 A220s and 20 A321XLRs.

Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. London/Sidney – “the Holy Grail” route. Now, it will be non-stop.
    With the A350-1000 and the upcoming B777-X, the manufacturers take one more step toward THEIR Holy Grail – the ability to provide non-stop flight between any two cities on the planet.
    Progress.
    Congratulations to the pioneers.

  2. It is amazing progress.

    When I flew home from Chile in 2019 (first leg non-stop to Canada) in a maxed-out 787, I remember thinking on take off, “How will one engine keep this thing flying?”

    Even if the engine has the thrust, I started thinking about all the single-engine forces/torques on the engine mount. I’m surprised it works.

  3. I appreciate the milestone. Qantas committing to this really means something IMO. But I lament the direction things have taken us. Bunks for all pax on long haul are clearly better and almost universally preferred. They just don’t suit the dominant financial models. But the rise of the big twins was a reminder to me that disruption and plodding evolution are often intertwined.