QANTAS: Warns Airbus about any delays to A350 ‘Sunrise Project’ aircraft
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is planning to meet with Guillaume Faurym the head of Airbus SE according to Bloomberg, to discuss the progress of their order of bespoke A350 jets to use for their Project Sunrise, ultra long haul non-stop flights between Australia’s east coast, Europe, the UK and the USA.
Joyce is also tipped to make sure that its order of A320’s to replace its ageing fleet of 737-800s used extensively in domestic and other short-haul operations.
Airbus seems to be having fewer problems than Boeing, but all airlines are dealing with the consequences of the pandemic on staffing and production, which threaten to delay deliveries on contracted aircraft orders.
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Important for Qantas’ future is the success of the Sunrise project which will see non-stop 18+ hour flights between the Australian east coast (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney) and the USA, particularly East Coast locations like New York, and European locations such as London, Paris and others. Project Sunrise could also be extended to South America to provide direct non-stop flights to Rio, and to South Africa, with Cape Town also on the list.
With the ten A380s reaching their used-by date in the next decade, Qantas definitely needs a replacement aircraft for long haul as well as these ultra-long haul routes.
Qantas is also facing a very ageing fleet on its domestic and short-haul international routes. That’s where the A220 and A321XLR orders come in. If these are delayed, Qantas will face increasing maintenance costs on its current fleet of ageing, mostly Boeing 737s and Airbus A330s. Replacement aircraft are vital to the airline’s reputation, safety record and economics. Any delay could threaten any of those areas.
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.
Keeping those orders on track will be vital to Qantas and its low-cost offshoot, Jetstar’s future strategy, and Alan Joyce’s reputation (not to mention his performance bonuses). That reputation has been shattered by recent operational and service issues such as cancelled and delayed flights, lost luggage, industrial disputes, outsourcing, complaints from wheelchair users and vegetarians.
If Joyce wants to leave any kind of decent legacy, then the success of Project Sunrise is vital, as is fleet renewal in general.
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