Qantas Green-Lights Its Most Ambitious Plan Yet


Qantas has announced the order of 12 new A350s, helping it bring its ambitious ‘Project Sunrise’ project to fruition. The project, which Qantas announced this morning has been given the green light, involves bringing Australians direct flights to London and New York from Sydney. Qantas said today these flights will launch in 2025.

Qantas also announced a domestic fleet renewal will be taking place from late 2023, including an order for 40 more A321XLRs and A220 aircraft and 94 purchase order rights spread over at least a decade.

Australia’s flagship airline said the new aircraft would have fewer emissions, a smaller running cost and greater passenger comfort than the old aircraft that are going to be retired.

Qantas claims these changes will reshape its international and domestic networks over the next decade and beyond, “improve[ing] journeys for millions of people every year, and create[ing] over 1,000 jobs as well as many career progression opportunities at the national carrier.”

Qantas’ domestic project is called ‘Project Winton.’ It involves a renewal of its narrow body jets. To achieve this, Qantas has ordered 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s to gradually replace its Boeing 737s and 717s.

The A321XLRs are five metres longer than the outgoing 737s and will be configured to seat 200 people (20 in business, 180 in economy), which is a 15 per cent increase on the old jets (with no reduction in space between seats).

These jets can also fly about 3,000km further than the 737, so they will open up a wider range of direct domestic and short-haul international routes (well hello there, Pacific Islands…).

Qantas says the first of these A321XLRs and A220-300s will start to arrive late next year. The order includes purchase right options for another 94 aircraft for delivery through to at least 2034.

‘Project Winston’ will give passengers more choice of flights at different times of day.

As for Project Sunrise, Qantas has big international plans – and an aircraft order to make them happen. The main news is that 12 Airbus A350-1000s will be ordered to operate non-stop ‘Project Sunrise’ flights from Australia to other cities including New York and London.

Qantas says these aircraft will have cutting edge comfort in every travel class. Qantas also says that services for these jets are scheduled to start by the end of 2025 from Sydney.

The Project Sunrise jets carry 238 passengers across four classes (First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy). And if you are a fan of business class and premium economy, there’s good news: more than 40 per cent of the cabin is dedicated to premium seating.

The primary goal of ‘Project Sunrise,’ however, is reducing how long it takes to get to London and New York.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “New types of aircraft make new things possible. That’s what makes today’s announcement so significant for the national carrier and for a country like Australia where air travel is crucial.”

“It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance.”

Alan Joyce

“Throughout our history, the aircraft we’ve flown have defined the era we’re in. The 707 introduced the jet age, the 747 democratised travel and the A380 brought a completely new level of comfort. The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just one flight away from Australia.”

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