Qantas Sunrise Project – abandoned?
All hype, no follow through
Qantas and Mr Joyce sure have been getting some mileage out of Project Sunrise – the idea of running non-stop flights between the east coast of Australia and the mid-west and east coast of the USA, or London, Paris and other European ports.
That would mean 20 odd hours on a plane, with no layover. To make this tenable for economy not to mention other classes, Qantas has been talking up such innovations such as sleeping births for economy, play and exercise spaces, and even cafe’s in the luggage hold.
At the time, I said I thought this was a bunch of hype – or more colloquially – a complete wank – and it now looks like that is confirmed.
If it happens it won’t just be for show
From the article in Traveller:
Proposed flights halfway around the globe are set to be even less comfortable than expected. That is if the marathon 20-hour non-stop services from Sydney and Melbourne to London get off the ground at all.Angus Whitley, traveller.com.au
Yep, that’s right! Alan Joyce has introduced an element of doubt as to whether they will even implement the flights even as he calls for bids for appropriate long haul jets out of Airbus or Boeing.
Not only that – the goalposts are changing. The specifications used to be that it had to house 4 classes, without a reduced passenger load (like the Singapore Airlines direct flight to New York does).
“There’s still not full payload on each aircraft, but there’s enough we think to make it commercially viable if the other parts of the business case get there.”Alan Joyce, CEO Qantas as quoted on traveller.com.au
Well that will make Airbus and Boeing feel happy, since they must be in the final stages of preparing their bid documents that are supposed to be due in August.
Informed commentators say that it will be a choice between an Airbus A350 and a Boeing 777X – both in ultra long distance versions. I would think that the A350 has the edge, as it is already running on Singapore Airlines direct Singapore to New York run, which takes around 19 hours. To do that the A350 900 Ultra Long Distance jet has no economy cabin. Reportedly, Singapore Airlines is having a hard time convincing people to travel in Premium Economy on this flight, although the business seats are selling well.
I’m yet to be convinced these will happen. They will save a couple to a few hours of flight, at what discomfort? Personally, I like the break in Singapore if I am heading to London. Not so much dealing with immigration in Los Angeles in the middle of the night. But boy will I be cranky when I hit immigration in NYC if they go ahead with this ultra long flight. On the other hand, a direct flight to Chicago – I would find quite appealing – but I have a thing about the windy city.