Qantas’ Pilots Vote to Go Ahead With Project Sunrise

The delivery of the first Project Sunrise jets and the launch of these long-haul services look set to happen in 2023.

Qantas A350.

Dubbed Project Sunrise, Qantas‘ ambitious plan to launch nonstop services from Sydney and Melbourne to New York, London, and Paris, is set to take flight.

Despite the delay of the Australian flag carrier’s Airbus A350 aircraft order, 85 percent of its pilots have voted in favor of the updated enterprise bargaining agreement, which covers wages and working conditions for flight deck crews on what the  18-to-20-hour long journey.

However, the project is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic which has devastated airlines globally.

The airline CEO Alan Joyce said: “We would rather wait for the coronavirus issue to be out of the way before we put a firm aircraft order in for the A350.”

Qantas chief pilot Dick Tobiano noted that “the extraordinary circumstances facing aviation has seen Airbus agree to extend the deadline on our decision to purchase the A350s so we can both focus on navigating the coronavirus crisis. But when this period has passed, and it will, we will refocus our attention on Project Sunrise and the A350 order.”

The delivery of the first Project Sunrise jets and the launch of these long-haul services look set to happen in the first quarter of 2023, although further A350-1000 orders could become eventual replacements for Qantas’ 12-strong Airbus A380 fleet.

Qantas’ design of its A350 cabin aims to “redefine” all four travel classes, along with what the airline considers a “super first-class” suite for well-heeled high flyers. Speculation is that these suites may come with sliding privacy doors, a feature well-adopted by many other airlines. These A350s are also expected to have a relatively small first-class cabin of between four to eight suites. This move aligns with the global trend towards reducing the number of first-class suites and improving business class cabins.

Meanwhile, a new business-class seat is also likely to be introduced, comparable to the popular Qantas Business Suite of the Qantas Boeing 787s and Airbus A330s. In addition, all Project Sunrise jets will come with superfast WiFi, which is able to stream HD videos.

Route-wise, the Project Sunrise jets will likely take flight to destinations including New York, London, Paris, Cape Town, and Rio de Janeiro.

More information here.

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