Qantas today announced a significant aircraft purchase from Airbus that includes 12 Airbus A350-1000 planes that allow it to fly non-stop from its Sydney hub to any major destinations worldwide, including New York and London.
The airline has also placed a narrow body order with Airbus for frames that will replace existing Boeing 737 and 717 planes.
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Direct Flights To London & New York
Qantas plans to start operating direct flights from Sydney to both New York and London in late 2025 and has placed an order with Airbus for 12 A350-1000s aircraft capable of flying non-stop between these city pairs.
Project Sunrise Overview
Codenamed Project Sunrise for the airline’s long history of endurance flying, Qantas has also shared preliminary concepts for its A350 cabin of the future that will offer a new level of comfort for all passengers on these direct flights that will cut up to four hours off total travel time compared with one-stop options today.
Qantas A350 First Class Suite
Customers onboard Qantas’ new fleet of A350 aircraft will be treated to luxurious First Class suites with a separate bed, recliner lounge chair and personal wardrobe; a next-generation Business suite; a new Premium Economy seat pitched at 40 inches, a new Economy seat pitched at 33 inches; and a dedicated Wellbeing Zone designed for movement, stretching and hydration. It has a total seat count of 238, the lowest compared with any other A350-1000 currently in service.
- The Qantas A350-1000 will have the range for direct flights between Australia and any city in the world. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan engines which are 25 percent more fuel efficient than previous generation aircraft.
- Will carry 238 passengers across four classes (First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy), with more than 40 per cent of the cabin dedicated to premium seating. Compares to more than 300 seats on competitor airlines.
- The cabin is specially configured for improved comfort on long flights and includes a Wellbeing Zone in the centre and more spacious seating in Premium Economy and Economy cabins.
- Will be carbon neutral, with all emissions offset.
Airbus Fleet Order
Qantas will replace its narrow-body fleet with Airbus A320 and A220 planes, replacing aging Boeing places.
The airplane placed firm orders for 20 Airbus A321LXRs and 20 A220-300s with an option to purchase 94 more. Qantas has an existing order for 109 A320 that includes purchase options for a total of 299 narrow-body planes.
- Approval of Project Sunrise, with order for 12 x Airbus A350s capable of flying direct from Australia to any other city including New York and London, starting from Sydney in late 2025.
- Domestic fleet renewal from late 2023, with order for 40 x A321XLRs and A220 aircraft; 94 purchase order rights spread over at least a decade.
- Major improvements in emissions, running costs and passenger comfort vs retiring aircraft.
- No change to FY23 capital guidance; structure of orders to align with Group Financial Framework.
The Qantas Group has today announced several major fleet decisions that will reshape its international and domestic networks over the next decade and beyond.
These decisions will also improve journeys for millions of people every year, and create over 1,000 jobs as well as many career progression opportunities at the national carrier.
Domestically, Qantas will start the renewal of its narrow body jets as part of ‘Project Winton’ with firm orders for 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s as its Boeing 737s and 717s are gradually retired. The first of these aircraft will start to arrive in late calendar 2023, with the order including purchase right options for another 94 aircraft for delivery through to at least 2034.
Internationally, 12 Airbus A350-1000s will be ordered to operate non-stop ‘Project Sunrise’ flights from Australia to other cities including New York and London. These aircraft will feature market-leading passenger comfort in each travel class with services scheduled to start by the end of calendar 2025 from Sydney.
- Firm orders for 12 Airbus A350-1000 for Project Sunrise. Deliveries to begin in 2025 and complete by 2028.
- Firm orders for 20 A321XLR and 20 A220-300 for Project Winton to start renewal of Qantas’ narrow body fleet as its fleet of 95 Boeing 737 and Boeing 717 aircraft retire. Deliveries of A220s to start late calendar 2023; A321XLRs deliveries to start a year later in late calendar 2024.
- An additional 94 purchase right options spread across A320 and A220 families, with significant flexibility on delivery timing (over 10-plus years) and aircraft type.
- Combines with the existing order of 109 A320s (plus purchase rights) for Jetstar into a single Qantas Group narrow body order of 299 aircraft (half of which are firm orders and half are purchase right options), with the flexibility to draw down on that order by choosing any variant from the A320 and A220 families.
- Demonstration of this flexibility with confirmation today that Jetstar will convert 20 of its existing A320 family order to A321XLRs, which have the potential to fly short haul international routes, with delivery to start in the second half of calendar 2024. (The first tranche from this existing order – 18 A321LRs – are due to arrive from July 2022 onwards.)
- Total cost of the deal is commercial in confidence, though a significant discount from standard price should be assumed.
A321XLR & A220-300
- Qantas’ A321XLR is five metres longer than the outgoing 737s and will be configured to seat 200 people (20 business, 180 economy) – a 15 per cent increase with no reduction in space between seats. It can fly approximately 3,000km further than the 737 (at 8,700km) and opens up a wider range of direct domestic and short haul international routes (e.g. South East Asia, Pacific islands).
- The A220-300 is larger overall than the outgoing 717s and will be configured to seat 137 people (10 in Business, 127 in Economy) – a 25 per cent increase with no reduction in space between seats. It has almost double the range at over 6,000 kilometres, meaning it can fly between any city in Australia.
- Both aircraft types will be powered by Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan engines (PW1100G-JM and PW1500G)
- The noise levels of both aircraft are up to 50 per cent lower than the retiring aircraft.
- On a per seat basis, the A220-300 burns 28 per cent less fuel per passenger than the 717. The A321XLR burns 17 per cent less fuel per passenger compared with the 737.
Qantas has been flying from Perth to London non-stop, but obviously, most of the passengers have only used Perth for transiting to/from Sydney. So dropping this unnecessary Perth or another stop will shave off several hours of unnecessary travel time.
I have done 15-hour flights in Emirates business and first-class, and oh boy, are those flights long. These flights from Sydney to New York and London take 20 hours, almost a full day.
It must be extremely uncomfortable for economy class passengers with hardly any space to be confined to such a small place for an extensive period.
I would likely break a journey such as this with a stopover along the way for a few days like many previously did on the Kangaroo Route.
Who knows what the world will look like in late 2025 when these flights are set to begin, considering the events that have taken and are currently taking place.