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Qantas: Project Sunrise – more premium seats and leg room for economy

Qantas: Project Sunrise – more premium seats and leg room for economy

Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO has been chatting about Project Sunrise prior to the next ‘Research’ flight out of London on a sparsely populated 787-9 Dreamliner – only 49 on board.

What has he been saying?

According to reports in Et – his musings have included:

30%+ more Premium Seats

Qantas current configuration of the Boeing 787-9 aircraft has about 30% premium – out of 236 seats, 70 are business (42) and premium economy (28). Alan is suggesting that including First Class, there will be even more on the ‘Project Sunrise’ jets. Obviously capacity will depend on what aircraft they choose – whether it is the A350-1000 or the B777X . Both will have a capacity of 350 or less (that’s my uninformed guess) for the kind of configuration that Qantas is talking about.

So, I’m plumbing for 16 first, 70 business, 60 Premium Economy, and the remaining 200 odd as Economy. Place your bets!

Super First Class

Alan’s promising something better than they currently have – which given the innovation that has gone on in First class cabins since their launch of the A380 first class, isn’t saying much. Will it be like Emirates new First Class:

a bed in an airplane

. . . or Singapore Airlines?

a bed and chair in a plane

Or even like Qatar’s Q Suites?

a man and woman sitting at a table with a couple of children

New Business and Premium Economy seats

I think that’s going to be necessary anyway because of the width of the aircraft, and that Qantas has neither of the target aircraft (B777 or A350 models) in its fleet currently.

a plane with seats and a screen
Boeing 777X business class concept

Interestingly Boeing in its image library has a 2-3-2 seating plan in business. There goes direct aisle access!

More legroom for Economy

Well, this is a no-brainer. If you’re going to spend 20 hours in an aircraft, then you are going to need more than 31 inches! Alan’s also promising a ‘special area for exercise’ – probably in the cargo hold.

New Seats for Everybody!

Alan also reports that Qantas has been speaking to seat manufacturers, and that the concept level design of the cabins has been executed. Presumably, seat manufacturers are drooling at the possibility of designing something – or more likely adapting current concept seats for the ‘Sunrise Project’.

inside an airplane with rows of seats
A350 business concept

2PAX Takeout

Ok – I have been highly sceptical of this project, and have even written it off as just a publicity opportunity. Well, it’s getting to the pointy end of decision making for Qantas on this project.

There are still a few hurdles to jump, and some difficult negotiations with staff unions and regulators, but I am probably thinking that the odds of it actually happening are tipping over to more than 50%. That is, provided the Australian government can turn around our ailing economy so that we start travelling again.

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