As expected, Qantas has just placed a massive order with Airbus. This includes an order for the Airbus A350-1000, which will allow the airline to operate the world’s longest flights.
Qantas orders 12 Airbus A350-1000s
Qantas has just placed a firm order for 12 Airbus A350-1000s, which the airline will use for its “Project Sunrise” flights.
For those not familiar with this, Qantas hopes to fly nonstop from Sydney and Melbourne to New York and London, though currently no commercial aircraft are capable of operating this in an economical way. That’s expected to finally change, as Airbus will modify the A350 (by adding an extra 20,000 liters worth of fuel tanks) to make it capable of operating these missions.
Qantas hopes to launch these flights by the end of the 2025 calendar year, and you can expect flights from Sydney to launch before flights from Melbourne.
These flights will all be 10,000+ miles, could take 20+ hours, and will be the world’s longest flights. They’ll represent a huge reduction in travel time for these markets, and will likely be popular, especially with premium travelers.
What will Qantas’ Airbus A350-1000s be like?
Qantas’ A350-1000s will be specially configured for long haul flying, and will be in a very spacious configuration:
- Qantas’ A350-1000s will carry just 238 passengers, which is way fewer seats than you’ll find on most carriers’ A350s
- The planes will feature four classes of service, including six first class seats, 52 business class seats, 40 premium economy seats, and 140 economy seats
- Economy will feature 33″ of pitch, which is incredibly generous, and much more spacious than what you’d typically find in economy (where 31″ is the standard for long haul flights)
- Qantas will be introducing a new first class suite on A350-1000s
- Qantas A350-1000s will feature a dedicated wellness zone
I’ll talk more about the cabin interiors in a separate post, because there’s lots to cover.
Qantas finalizes Airbus A321XLR & A220-300 order
While I’d say the A350-1000 order is the most exciting part of this announcement, Qantas has also finalized its order for the A321XLR and A220-300. The airline first announced its intention to order Airbus jets in late 2021, but the order wasn’t finalized.
Qantas has now placed a firm order for 20 Airbus A321XLRs:
- This is the longest range and largest version of the Airbus A320 family
- Deliveries are expected to start in late 2024
- These planes will feature 200 seats, including 20 business class seats and 180 economy class seats
- These planes will primarily be used to replace Boeing 737 aircraft
- The plane is much more capable than the 737, and can fly approximately 3,000km further than the 737, and opens up a wider range of direct domestic and short haul international routes, including to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands
Qantas has also placed a firm order for 20 Airbus A220-300s:
- This is the largest version of the Airbus A220 family
- Deliveries are expected to start in late 2023
- These planes will feature 137 seats, including 10 business class seats and 127 economy class seats
- These planes will primarily be used to replace Boeing 717 aircraft
- The plane is much more capable than the 717, and can fly approximately twice as far (over 6,000 kilometers), meaning it can fly between any cities in Australia
In addition to these firm orders, Qantas has further purchase rights for 94 Airbus aircraft over a 10 year delivery window, including other A320neo family aircraft, plus the smaller A220-100.
Qantas has just placed its largest aircraft order ever. This includes ordering 12 Airbus A350-1000s, which will be used for Project Sunrise flights, directly connecting Sydney and Melbourne to New York and London. These flights are expected to launch in late 2025. Qantas has also given us a glimpse into what we can expect on these planes, and I’m pretty excited!
In addition to that, Qantas has finalized its order for the A321XLR and A220-300, which will be used for renewing the carrier’s short haul fleet. These are both much better planes than the existing 737s and 717s that they’ll be replacing.
This is all so cool to see, and is a very impressive fleet renewal for the airline.
What do you make of Qantas’ big Airbus order?