Qantas launches Project Sunrise
A350-1000 for the world’s longest nonstop flights
Qantas will fly non-stop from Sydney and Melbourne to New York and London from 2025. Twelve ULR A350-1000s specially optimized for ultra-long-haul routes, which Qantas has now firmly ordered, will be deployed. How do you prepare a plane for the longest non-stop flights in the world?
The project has been suspended for more than two years – now it has officially started. At the end of 2025, the first Qantas long-haul jets will depart from the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney on direct flights to London and New York. “Project Sunrise” is how the Australian airline calls the company, for which the airline with the flying kangaroo in its logo orders a bespoke aircraft from Airbus in Toulouse. Qantas placed a firm order for twelve of the future queen of the range, the A350-1000 ULR, this morning in Sydney (local time). Two days earlier, Airbus had sent the A350 prototype registered F-WMIL on the Toulouse-Sydney route for the signing of the contract – with the Qantas logo affixed, but also with a stopover in Perth.
A total of 52 new Airbus aircraft
The high-capacity twin’s flight from France to the Western Australian state capital took exactly 16 hours – eventually continuing a further four hours and 45 minutes to the east coast metropolis of Sydney . There, in addition to ordering a dozen A350-1000 ULRs, Qantas announced on Monday morning that it would also order 20 A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s each – plus options to purchase a total of 94 other aircraft. narrow-body Airbus. They are to replace the Boeing 717 and 737 on domestic routes from 2023. “The A320 and A220 will form the backbone of our national fleet for the next 20 years and help move our country forward,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. “Their autonomy and their economy will allow new direct connections and will also improve the service of the regional metropolises.”
London and New York are just the beginning
Range and economy – these two attributes are also emphasized on ultra-long routes. As a platform for “Project Sunrise”, the A350-1000 already outperformed Boeing’s Triple Seven competition in 2019 – but the business was temporarily slowed down due to the corona pandemic. That’s why we need to go full steam ahead now – because if Qamtas gets its way, London and New York will only be the start. In the medium term, cities like Paris, Cape Town, Frankfurt and Rio de Janeiro are also on Australians’ non-stop wish lists. In the future, with the A350, all cities in the world will be one flight away from Australia, rejoiced Alan Joyce in Sydney. “Project Sunrise” is therefore the ultimate solution to the “tyranny of distance” that has always separated Australia from the rest of the world.
Against the “tyranny of distance”
To overcome this tyranny, Airbus equips its largest twin engine with an additional kerosene tank. In addition, the cabin of the A350-1000 in the ULR version, which is also designed to accommodate up to 429 passengers, will only offer space for 238 passengers. There will be four classes on board: Economy Class in the back with 140 seats (84 centimeters apart), Premium Economy with 40 seats (102 centimeters apart), Business Class with 52 seats and First Class with a total of six suites. With a bed, a wardrobe, a large 32-inch screen and an additional seating area, they are intended to create a warm living atmosphere above the clouds. And because sitting until 8 p.m. is not only boring, but also quite unhealthy, Qantas offers a “wellness zone” in the ULR cabin – specifically there to maintain your blood circulation with stretching exercises and of relaxation. Healthy snacks and drinks will also be available there. Qantas had already tackled the future layout of the ultra-long-haul cabin in 2019 with several Dreamliner test flights to New York and London.