Qantas has taken a major step in launching Project Sunrise, its long-dreamed-of goal of establishing non-stop flights between Australia and New York and London cities.
The airline has ordered 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, with the hope that the ultra-long-haul routes can start operating by 2025.
A total of 238 seats will be available on each aircraft, which is the lowest number for any Airbus A350 in service. These seats are spread between four classes of service – first class, business class, premium economy class and economy class.
Comfort will be a must, as these flights will last more than 19 hours, making them the longest nonstop flights in the world.
The renderings of the plane’s interior provide some clues as to what Qantas is planning for passengers on board.
Photos of first class show separate beds, reclining couches and even wardrobes.
Meanwhile, the cheapest economy class seats will be 33 inches apart, compared to the 30-31 inch average across most airlines.
“Wellbeing Zones” will use common areas on board to store healthy snacks and drinks as well as provide travelers with a place to get up and relax.
A DREAM IN THE YEAR OF BOOMING
The Australian flag carrier makes no secret of its goal of running direct flights between Melbourne and Sydney in Australia as well as New York City and London.
Qantas has named the program “Project Sunrise.” The name was inspired by the secret World War II flights made from Perth to Sri Lanka en route to London. They were rife with danger, and lasted so long that they saw two dawns.
“For over 100 years, Qantas has been at the forefront of transforming the way the world gets around, especially through direct flights,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement. .
“Now, the A350 and Project Sunrise will make almost any city in the world a flight from Australia. It’s the last frontier and the ultimate solution to the tyranny of distance that has defied tourism. to Australia.”
In 2019, the airline piloted a series of flights on routes from Sydney to New York City and Sydney to London as an experiment.
The crew and passengers on board had their health monitored throughout the journey to see how such a long flight might affect future passengers. The tracking devices tracked sleep patterns, activity cycles, food and drink consumption, and other data.
Like many tourism ventures around the world, Sunrise has been derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Joyce insists the project remains a priority for Qantas.
Last year, the CEO told CNN’s Richard Quest that “once we’re done (the Qantas domestic fleet upgrade), which we’ll be doing as early as 2022, we’ll revisit Sunrise and the likelihood is somewhere like 2024 or 2025 for the first plane to arrive, with delays.”
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Although Project Sunrise’s first flights are still years away, Qantas has already begun thinking about expanding its ultra-long-haul services.
The airline confirmed that Paris and Frankfurt are also being considered for future nonstop flights once the New York City and London routes are established.
In 2019, Qantas also included Brisbane as one of the hubs east of Australia for these flights, but it is unclear if that will still be part of the Project Sunrise plan.
Meanwhile, a 17-hour non-stop flight between Melbourne and Dallas made its debut in March 2022.