Important order for Airbus: Qantas announces longest direct flights in the world
Qantas has been pursuing Project Sunrise for years: direct flights from Europe and the east coast of the United States to Sydney. The Australian airline has now decided on the right plane and signed the contract with Airbus.
After a hiatus of more than two years, Australian airline Qantas will resume its non-stop service from London Heathrow to Perth, Western Australia on 20 June. A new three-day-a-week service from Rome to Perth was also announced during the European summer season. A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is used. But the range of this plane is not enough for a direct flight to Australia’s east coast, the road to Sydney.
This is why Qantas launched the internal Sunrise project in 2017: the objective of the “Sunrise” project was nothing more than a feasibility study for very long-haul flights, intended to allow jets to travel the 17,700-kilometer route between the United Kingdom. and Sydney and Melbourne without a flight make a refueling stop. To this end, several test flights were carried out in 2019 from London and New York to Sydney with the Dreamliner with a reduced payload. The data collected should shed light on future crew management on very long-haul flights.
With the pandemic, the decision on which type of aircraft will be used on the new non-stop routes has been postponed. The choice was the Boeing 777-8, a shortened ultra long-range variant of the new Boeing 777-9. But as the further development of the classic Boeing 777 is too uncertain due to engine problems and approval, it became apparent that Airbus would win the tender with the A350-1000.
Airbus A350-1000: this is what the ultra-long-range plane for Qantas looks like
Now Qantas has chosen the A350. On May 2, Qantas chief Alan Joyce signed the purchase contract for twelve units at a ceremony in Sydney Airport’s Hangar 96. “It is the final frontier and the final solution to the tyranny of distance that has made traveling to Australia difficult,” says Joyce. With the new direct flights, the travel time to Down Under has been reduced by four hours.
Room for 238 passengers in four classes
In addition to Qantas employees and Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer, a factory Airbus A350-1000 was in the hangar, which had flown from Toulouse to Sydney with a stopover in Perth, Western Australia, mainly for the ceremony. The jet was branded with a Qantas logo and the hashtag #LongRangeLeader “.
For the Qantas order, the long-range aircraft will be slightly modified by adding an extra tank for a range of 16,100 kilometers and a special cabin interior. There are four travel classes with six suites in First Class, 52 suites in Business Class, 40 seats in Premium Economy and 140 seats in Economy Class. New a wellness area with space for stretching exercises and a small self-service bar.
According to Joyce, the first direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York are expected to take off by the end of 2025. These flights will therefore break the previous ultra-long-haul record on the Singapore-New York route with Singapore’s A350-900 ULR. Airlines.
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