Qantas Has Gone With The Airbus A350-1000 For ‘Project Sunrise’

by Zac George
a white and red airplane

Qantas has today announced some extremely exciting news, and for those who are Airbus fans, you’re going to love this. As you would have seen, Qantas has been running their test flights named ‘project sunrise’ to basically test what the effects on passengers are like on ultra-long-haul services. Some will argue that it’s mainly just a publicity stunt, but even if it is, it’s an exciting time for the airline as they soon hope to be able to operate non-stop services to key destinations without having a stop.

Qantas has been looking at two aircraft types, in particular, the 777X and the A350-1000. And they’ve just announced which aircraft they’ll be selecting; the Airbus A350-1000 will be the aircraft of choice for the airline. The airline hasn’t yet placed an order, but they’ve stated that they’ll be ordering up to 12 of the aircraft.

Airbus has also confirmed that they’ll delay their delivery slots from February to March 2020, this will assist with Qantas finalising their agreement for the flights which Qantas want to start in the first half of 2023.

Qantas will be making their final decision on project sunrise in March of next year.


a white and red airplane

Qantas A350-1000

Per Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce:

Between the research flights and what we’ve learned from two years of flying Perth to London, we have a lot of confidence in the market for direct services like New York and London to the east coast of Australia.

“The A350 is a fantastic aircraft and the deal on the table with Airbus gives us the best possible combination of commercial terms, fuel efficiency, operating cost and customer experience.


“The aircraft and engine combination is next generation technology but it’s thoroughly proven after more than two years in service. This is the right choice for the Sunrise missions and it also has the right economics to do other long haul routes if we want it to.


“Airbus has given us an extra month to lock in an aircraft order without impacting our planned start date, which means we can spend more time on hopefully reaching a deal with our pilots.

Qantas still have their final ‘project sunrise’ flight which will be New York – Sydney, which will be operated on the 17th of December. The airline will be making their final decision on the project in March of next year.

a large white and red airplane

VH-ZNJ arriving from London for Qantas’ second ‘project sunrise’ flight

The airline has also stated that they will be introducing a brand new first, business, premium and economy class for the aircraft, which will be revealed much closer to the date of the delivery. I, for one, cannot wait to see these new cabins, especially what the first class product will look like as there realistically aren’t many carriers operating a first cabin on an A350.

Overall I think the A350-1000 is a fantastic choice for the airline and think it will fit in extremely well. I’m not an expert on this, but I’d assume it’ll be an easy transition for A330 pilots which will also reduce training time and costs. I would have been absolutely shocked if they had chosen the 777X considering it hasn’t even had it’s first flight yet and Is well and truly far from any deliveries.



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