Qantas has ordered new aircraft to support its “Project Sunrise” venture, providing nonstop long-haul service to New York and London from Sydney. The aircraft are expected to arrive in 2025, kicking off this milestone feat for the Australian flag carrier.
What Is Project Sunrise?
Currently, to go from Sydney to London or New York, you need to stop in an intermediary city, creating a longer transit time considering the connecting stop:
- When traveling from Sydney to London, previous and current options have included transiting through Dubai, Singapore, Darwin, and Perth, and then onward to London.
- Flights from Sydney to New York would stop in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Dallas, then connect onward on American to New York. Qantas previously offered a flight from Los Angeles to New York solely for passengers arriving from a Qantas flight, but this was discontinued as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To avoid these stops, and provide a premium nonstop option for customers, Qantas has long wanted to fly nonstop from Sydney to London and from Sydney to New York — flights that could take over 20 hours. The current aircraft options to support such a long-haul flight have been limited, but Qantas has now placed an order for aircraft that will actually be able to serve such a flight.
Hot Tip: Check out the longest nonstop flights in the world (from a points and planes perspective) in our detailed guide.
Qantas has placed an order for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to be used solely on Project Sunrise routes. While New York and London are the 2 favorites, Qantas is planning on serving other far-away cities nonstop as well. The new A350 aircraft will feature additional fuel tanks to be able to fly longer distances.
Onboard, you’ll find 238 seats across first class, business class, premium economy, and economy cabins, with 40% of seating in premium cabins. There will also be a specific zone just dedicated to inflight exercise and stretching, which is such an important component of a flight with this length.
The first class suites will feature closing doors, as well as a separate seat and bed, providing ample room to stretch out and move around.
In addition to the 12 Airbus A350-1000 planes, Qantas is also ordering 20 Airbus 321XLR planes for short-haul international flying, as well as 20 Airbus A220 planes — these will replace aging Boeing 717 planes, traditionally used by regional carrier QantasLink.
It’s very exciting to see Qantas finally putting pen to paper with its Project Sunrise concept. Aircraft have now been ordered and with anticipated delivery in 2025, it will be the perfect time to launch such long-haul flying. While fares will likely be high due to the convenience of the routes, the premium of them being nonstop is sure to be a key benefit to business travelers across the globe.
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