QANTAS: Project Sunrise – Airbus A350-100 order confirmed – First Class Video
Qantas is ordering 12 Airbus A350-1000s for its ultra long haul flights between Sydney, Melbourne and eventually Brisbane to London, Paris and New York, and frankly anywhere else they damn well want to! Basically this aircraft will allow direct, non-stop flights from Australia to pretty much anywhere in the world. The 20 odd hour flights will commence from late 2025. The aircraft will feature the lowest seat count of any A350-1000 at the moment at 238 seats.
With a low seat count, and a premium heavy plane, Qantas will be relying on passengers prepared to pay a premium for this service. The economics must be good, but possibly knife-edge. Remember that Joyce is a mathematician.
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As previously proposed, Joyce is looking at New York and London – which were the the targets of the two 787 test flights back in 2019 – that seems such a long time to ago – shortly before the whole project was paused due to the pandemic.
“The first Project Sunrise flights will be from New York and London, but the aircraft will also be able to operate non-stop flights to Australia from destinations such as Paris and Frankfurt.Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO
“The Qantas A350 travel experience will be truly exceptional, particularly across the premium cabins. Our First and Business Class Seats will set a new benchmark for premium long-haul travel.Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO
The A350 aircraft on the Project Sunrise routes will give you the choice of new First Class (6 suites – 2 rows of 1-1-1) with a separate bed, recliner lounge chair, personal wardrobe, 32′ screen and a door, a next-generation Business Suite (52 seats in 1-2-1 configuration) spread over 2 cabins, or a new Premium Economy (40 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration) with a pitch of 40 inches, or back in Economy (140 seats in 3-3-3 format), pitched at 33′ – which will be an inch more than on the Perth to London B787 Dreamliner.
You will also get a Wellbeing Zone for exercise, ‘stretching and hydration’. It has a total seat count of 238, the lowest compared with any other A350-1000 currently in service.
Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan engines, 25% more efficient than previous aircraft will power the Qantas A350-1000 providing a range for direct non-stop flights between Australia and any city in the world.
The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.
It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.
This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.
This is exciting, but there are a few caveats. We are still 3 years away from the first flight, so a lot could change. Although the direct Perth London flights have proven attractive to Qantas customers – we have yet to see how these new direct flights will sell, given a 30% markup over a standard one stop fare. The first cabins, which look like a great improvement on previous 1st cabins, look a little cramped compared to the likes of Singapore Airlines, and Etihad’s first class products. We also don’t know what either the evolution of the business suites, or the new Premium and Economy seats will look like. 40′ pitch in Premium sounds pretty good, but it will be the angle of recline that will be the real test. Economy is going to be less squeezy at 33′ pitch on this larger A350 than the 32′ on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, that currently jumps between London and Perth.
The Wellbeing Zone, looks problematic. What’s going to stop it just being a standup bar? How will ‘wellbeing’ be policed? Will you need to ‘book’ it for your yoga stretching? I’m sure Qantas has a plan, but I won’t fall over if this turns into another economy seating area. Remember what happened to the Captain Cook lounge in the 747 Jumbo?
MORE TO COME
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