DALLAS – Australian flag carrier Qantas (QF), the leading airline for connecting travelers to and from the country and the rest of the Southern Pacific continent, has revealed the brand new Business Class (BC) and First Class (FC) seats that will be available for customers flying QF routes under “Project Sunrise,” which aims to connect Sydney (SYD) with London (LHR) and New York (JFK) non-stop, among other destinations.
These seats will be available on the Airbus A350-1000ULR; an aircraft specifically designed for ultra-long-haul routes and fitted almost exclusively with upper-class seats due to the extreme duration of these new routes between Europe and North America with Australia, expected to start in late 2025.
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas, stated: “We think our A350 cabins have the most sophisticated and thoughtful design of any airline, combining cutting-edge technology with sleep research to shape the look and feel for what is effectively a new era of travel. We’re building on the customer experience of our extremely popular non-stop flights from Perth to London as we keep working to make it easier to connect Australia with the rest of the world.”
The Qantas Airbus A350-1000ULRs are expected to be configured in a reduced layout of just 238 seats instead of the 300+ specified by other carriers. From those, 52 Business Class seats will be included in a 1-2-1 configuration, in addition to six First Class suites in a 1-1-1 configuration. Finally, all 12 aircraft will also feature a “Wellbeing Zone” for all passengers, which is still in development and is expected to be unveiled in the coming months.
Among the main features of the FC cabin, Qantas looks to “make customers feel like they are in a mini boutique hotel room”, with an extra-wide bed, a personal wardrobe, a dining table, and a 32″ UHD television. On BC, on the other hand, passengers will have more privacy thanks to sliding doors, along with a two-meter flat bed and an 18″ UHD television.
About Project Sunrise
Project Sunrise is the name Qantas designated for the pioneering operation of making possible, for the first time, non-stop flights between the East Coast of Australia to Europe, and North America. These more than 20-hour flights would include the likes of Sydney (SYD) to London (LHR) or Melbourne (MEL) to New York (JFK).
To make this happen, in 2017 Qantas started an enormous campaign challenging both Boeing and Airbus to design an aircraft that could guarantee the necessary range and performance to operate these routes offering the best comfort and efficiency for the Australian airline.
Boeing joined the race with their brand-new Boeing 777X family, which is still going through its certification process. On its part, Airbus proposed modifying its existing A350-1000 aircraft into an ultra-long-range airliner to meet QF’s range requirements.
The Airbus A350-1000ULR is not the first aircraft to undergo this transformation. Airbus already launched and delivered the first A350-900ULR units to Singapore Airlines (SQ), which today exclusively flies the daily connection between Singapore (SIN) and New York (JFK) in between 17 and 19 hours of flight time. Finally, QF announced the purchase of 12 initial units of the A350-1000ULR for “Project Sunrise” in May 2022.
First flights to LHR and JFK from SYD are scheduled for late 2025, which would eventually join the existing QF9 flight which today connects Heathrow with Perth (PER) with their Boein 787-9 aircraft.
Featured image: Qantas