Qantas continues long-haul planning with Project Sunrise

Qantas Project Sunrise will decide the airline’s plans for long-haul flight routes beyond the covid pandemic. Aviation Analyst Alex Martinez Rivera explains.

The Australian Airline revives the longest flights within their network from Sydney

Background of Qantas’ Project Sunrise. Courtesy: Qantas

Let me give a bit of background. Project Sunrise is a nonstop culmination of flights from Sydney to New York and London within 20 hours.

Last I heard from the project, the airline did around 60 hours of experimentation or three-way trips to London and New York. However, due to COVID, this particular project had to stop. These flights started in March 2018.

Results of the experimentation revealed information to the management of Qantas. Therefore, the Boeing 777X got out of the running when the experimentation data was available.

Only the Airbus 350-1000 became the aircraft of choice although the airline hasn’t made a letter of intent to purchase these aircraft yet.

The CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, told Euromonitor that the Perth-London route has “the highest customer satisfaction for any route on Qantas’s network, despite being the longest flight.

This, of course, was before COVID.

No formalization of any kind

The airline has not yet made any regulatory application. None of its routes that Qantas is exploring (Sydney-London) or the New York route has been formalized with either the UK authorities or the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Project will carry on sometime later in 2021. The expectation is a letter of intent to operate with up to 12 aircraft using the Rolls Royce Trent XWB Engine with an additional fuel tank.

Instead of having flights operating by 2023, the potential is to be set by 2024.

Passengers will need to be vaccinated if traveling on Qantas

As said on the “State of Travel” piece, Qantas will require passengers to be vaccinated if traveling with them.

It is one more airline that it is changing with the times.

While the airline is certainly rebuilding its network it has more destinations than prior to the pandemic.

Having the Longest Flight in the World is certainly a priority for Qantas

Author’s Opinion

The Perth-London route was the highest in customer satisfaction. It was also the most profitable route as told by the CEO. Qantas is reviving the project as airlines are wounded and spending too much cash.

While airlines are betting on a worldwide recovery in 2021, I’m still a bit skeptical. As the number of cases and deaths lowers as Spring comes around, everyone is betting that by September it will be apparent that we won’t have another dark winter.

As I’m seeing it with the number of people not wanting to vaccinate, it becomes a harder road to travel. I do sincerely hope I am wrong in the forecast.

Are you a fan of ultra-long-haul flights? What do you think about Qantas Project Sunrise? Please let Alex Martinez Rivera know by contacting him below.

Captain Jetson news reporter and aviation analyst aviation analyst Alex Martinez Rivera
Alex Martinez Rivera

Alex Martinez Rivera is the Senior Aviation Contributor for Captain Jetson. Ask questions or connect with him about aviation, aerospace, business, or government via email, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Featured Image: Unsplash.

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