Before the pandemic, Qantas was getting ready to launch what was possibly one of the most exciting projects in commercial aviation. Unfortunately it had to be put on hold for a couple of years due to the pandemic, given the situation Qantas was in. The good news is that this is once again actively being worked on.
What is Qantas’ Project Sunrise?
Project Sunrise is something that Qantas has been working on for many years. For context, currently the world’s longest flight is operated by Singapore Airlines’ A350-900ULR, as the airline flies nonstop between Singapore and New York. That flight covers a distance of over 9,500 miles and can take up to 18 hours.
For several years now, Qantas has been working on “Project Sunrise,” whereby the airline hopes to launch nonstop flights from Melbourne and Sydney to London and New York. These flights would be 10,000+ miles, and could potentially take 20+ hours. They’d significantly cut travel time in these markets, and would likely be quite popular, especially with premium travelers.
Qantas challenged both Airbus and Boeing to come up with a plane capable of completing these missions. In December 2019, Qantas announced plans to order the A350-1000, as Airbus is able to add extra fuel tanks to these planes and increase the maximum takeoff weight, giving these planes the specifications that Qantas requires.
At the time the plan was for Qantas to formally confirm the order by March 2020, allowing the airline to start these flights in the first half of 2023. As you may have guessed, the pandemic totally changed that, and Qantas was no longer in a position to invest in this concept. That’s now changing…
Qantas plans A350-1000 deliveries in 2025
During this week’s half year financial results session, an update was provided by Qantas on Project Sunrise:
- Qantas now plans to order the Airbus A350-1000 by the middle of 2022
- This would allow Qantas to launch these flights in 2025
Essentially everything has just been pushed back by two years here, in terms of both the order timeline and the potential delivery timeline. Of course it’s anyone’s guess if that timeline sticks this time around, but it’s at least encouraging to see that this is something that Qantas is still working toward.
Qantas’ Project Sunrise is once again on, with the plan for Qantas to order A350-1000s in the middle of 2022, and launch the world’s longest flights as of 2025. It sure would be cool to see these flights become a reality, especially since Qantas plans to configure these A350s in a very premium configuration, including with first class.
Do you think Qantas’ Project Sunrise timeline will stick, or is it all talk for now?