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Qantas orders Airbus A350s for Project Sunrise

Qantas orders Airbus A350s for Project Sunrise

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Qantas placed orders for 12 specially modified Airbus A350-1000s this week to serve as its Project Sunrise fleet. The airline will launch non-stop flights from Sydney to London and New York by the end of 2025. The fleet will also enable Qantas to launch additional non-stop flights from Australia to ‘any other city.’

What is Project Sunrise?

Qantas has long sought non-stop service from eastern Australia to Europe and eastern North America. Dubbed Project Sunrise, the airline began a research program to understand the requirements for aircraft, crew, and passengers to operate 20+ hour flights.

In 2019, Qantas operated three test flights using lightly loaded Boeing 787-9s. Pilots, cabin crew, and passengers wore special sensors and participated in different research programs.

The flight to New York from Sydney measures 16,013 km (8,646 nm) and the flight to London measures 17,016 km (9,188 nm). The Project Sunrise flights will become the longest in the world, with the London flight being nearly 2,000 km longer than the world’s current longest flight between Singapore and New York.

Until now, no aircraft offered the range to economically operate those flights. Qantas’ order for 12 A350-1000s enables the airline to begin flights from Australia to anywhere thanks to modifications to the airframe. Airbus originally said it would not need to add an additional fuel tank, but after further review will do so to ensure the aircraft has the needed range.

Inside Qantas’ A350s

Rendering of Qantas’ Airbus A350-1000 interior

Qantas has revealed that the aircraft will feature 238 total seats, including six first class suites, 52 business class suites, 40 premium economy seats, and 140 economy seats. There will also be a “wellbeing zone” between the premium economy and economy cabins.

Qantas A350 Wellbeing Zone rendering

Project Sunrise First Class

The six first class suites will feature a reclining chair and dedicated bed as well as a 32 inch monitor. The suites will feature a closing door, but it does not appear that they’ll be fully enclosed.

Will you be onboard?

Project Sunrise flights are scheduled to launch by the end of 2025. Would you be willing to book on a 20+ non-stop flight? Or are multiple, shorter connecting flights preferred? Let us know in the comments below.

Interior renderings provided by Qantas. Featured image © Yohane.

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Join the Conversation


  1. Michael Cole

    On the face of it, unless they are willing to give significantly more room to the economy class passengers, it would appear to be the airlines version of waterboarding.
    Flying economy for 10 hours at the moment in the cramped narrow seating of economy is a seriously bad experience. My mind goes into spasms at the thought of twice that time.
    Is there any way airlines can be encouraged to boldly advertise their advantage over others in that they actually provide a pleasurable experience for passengers. OK for a few dollars more, but balance that against the misery of DVT.

  2. Jo

    I like the idea, but not sure it’s for me personally. I suffered a DVT as a result of long haul flight London-Tokyo-Sydney with an immobilised broken foot. So I wonder about such risks generally for such a long flight with Project Sunrise?

  3. Tim McCulloch

    We have been overseas a few times but l/we hate the stopover’s. So would love to do a non stop from Sydney to London.

  4. gordon Holden smith

    Thinking ahead to flying from Gold Coast Qld to Singapore then to Helsinki and to Budapest and return. I could not stand a huge long flight so intend to break it up with a few days in each stopover

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