DALLAS – Today, Qantas (QF) announced its order for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to be deployed on ultra-long-haul flights as a part of ‘Project Sunrise’.
The airline anticipates the aircraft to be in service from 2025 based in Sydney and lists New York and London as flagship destinations for the A350s. Deliveries are expected to be completed by 2028.
The possibilities presented by Project Sunrise are especially welcomed by Australians, whose ability to travel internationally was severely hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of QF, the new aircraft and routes are the “final frontier” for the airline in connecting Australians with family and friends in faraway cities.
In addition, QF firmed its orders for 40 narrowbody aircraft to completely overhaul the airline’s domestic fleet, a plan dubbed ‘Project Winton’.
The order includes 20 Airbus A321XLRs, along with 20 Airbus A220-300s and purchase options for an additional 94 aircraft. The new aircraft will replace the airline’s aging Boeing 717 and Boeing 737 fleets, which are, on average, 20.2 and 15.4 years old, respectively.
According to the airline, on a per-seat basis, the A220-300 burns 28 percent less fuel per passenger than the 717, while the A321XLR burns 17 percent less fuel per passenger than the 737.
Apart from the fuel savings, the new aircraft’s extended range capabilities unlock new potential domestic routes for the airline.
Qantas’ Take on the Ultra-Long-Haul Experience
In recent years, ultra-long-haul flights have transformed due to advancements in aircraft manufacturing and science that aid in the comfort of passengers.
Singapore Airlines (SQ), for example, operates the world’s longest flights on its Airbus A350-900ULR aircraft between New York (JFK, EWR) and Singapore (SIN). Recently, Air New Zealand (NZ) also announced plans to fly ultra-long-haul between Auckland and New York (JFK), a flight that will take over 16 hours.
With such long flight times, airlines have been making immense efforts to ensure that passengers across all cabins are comfortable throughout the long journeys.
Qantas’ Project Sunrise Airbus A350-1000s will carry 238 passengers across four classes, with more than 40 percent of the cabin dedicated to premium classes.
Between the economy class and premium class cabins will be a ‘Wellbeing Zone’ that will include a self-serve snack station, digital displays to provide movement recommendations, and space to stretch.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said, “The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just one flight away from Australia. It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance.
He continued, “The A320s and A220s will become the backbone of our domestic fleet for the next 20 years, helping to keep this country moving. Their range and economics will make new direct routes possible, including serving regional cities better.”
Featured Image: Qantas