Qantas To Select Plane For Project Sunrise By End Of Year

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Project Sunrise by Qantas is an initiative which aims to connect London and Sydney with non-stop flights. Qantas wants to connect the two cities in an ambitious feat of aviation. However, in order to achieve this, Qantas will need a small fleet of extra long range aircraft.

Qantas Project Sunrise
Qantas is expected to choose an aircraft for Project Sunrise by the end of the year. Photo: Qantas

While it is currently possible to fly non-stop between London and Australia, it is not possible to fly non-stop between London and Sydney. As such, planes usually stop to refuel in Singapore or Bangkok.

Why connect the two?

While flying 10,573 miles non-stop might sound like a new level of hell, it appears that the flight is not as bad as one may think. Sydney to London is a key route for Qantas already, albeit with stops on the way. Indeed, the route is nicknamed the kangaroo route due to the number of hops it used to have.

In addition to knowing that London to Sydney is a popular route, Qantas has already proven that there is a desire to fly ultra long haul. The airline currently offers a non-stop service from London to Perth.

The flight is scheduled to take a total of 17 hours and comes in around 1,500 miles shorter than the direct route from London to Sydney. According to News.com.au, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce commented that the route “had the highest customer satisfaction rating after a year of any route on our network, and it’s been the most successful launch of a new route.”

Qantas Project Sunrise
Project Sunrise will see Qantas link London and Sydney with direct flights. Photo: Qantas

What do we know?

So far, we know that Qantas is deciding between Boeing and Airbus to provide the Project Sunrise aircraft. It was previously understood that the non-stop services would not be possible until 2022. While other outlets have reported that flights could commence by the end of the year, this is thought to be a misinterpretation of Group CEO Alan Joyce’s comments.

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The Daily Mail reports that Mr Joyce told a press conference “You have to change it [long haul flight regulations] with a regulator. We think we’ll have that lined up hopefully this year. This is the first time that Australia and Europe have been connected directly”.

Qantas Project Sunrise
The world’s longest flight is currently operated by Singapore Airlines using the Airbus A350. Photo: Singapore Airlines

Instead, in line with the Daily Mail’s comments, Qantas is now expected to announce which aircraft it will pick for the Project Sunrise route by the end of the year. Sky News reports that both Boeing and Airbus are taking the challenge seriously, with Airbus commenting “it was a bit like the space race” according to Mr Joyce.

It has been reported that new news was given on the aircraft under consideration, however, Mr Joyce has previously indicated that the race is between the Airbus A350, and the Boeing 777. Airbus’ A350ULR is currently being used on the world’s longest route, however, Boeing’s 777X is due to make its first flight later this year.

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Which aircraft do you think Qantas will pick? Let us know in the comments!

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