Qantas To Select Plane For Project Sunrise By End Of Year

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, 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.


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.

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


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Aircraft Lover

Every time there is a stop-over in your route to your final destination, there is always the possibility of flight delay due to air traffic congestion, weather conditions, and many other situations


Exactly the same factors can also delay the departure of a non-stop flight.


Uhhhhh….weather at the departure airport is the same, whether you are going direct or with a stop. This has no bearing on the point.


Yes…. But two or three times more chances to be delayed! Minimum number of legs is always a better option!
With A350ULR already in the market and performing successfull ultra long routes…. Vs. Boeing new model…. Program delays, certification uncertainties, potential maturity issues like in the MAX….. I’d definitely go for the Airbus option.


A350ULR would be the way to go.

Tony Pearce

Agree with the A350. QANTAS already fly the A330 so compatability issues would be addressed and it’s already flying.

john russell

I’m biased I must admit, I like the A350 “Jewel in the Skies” The management syndrome of Boeing would put me off of the 777x. Boeing of old, then yes but with this new lot? First the 787 and batteries and the first 500 sold at a loss, then comes the 737max8, yet another ‘management’ money first. So I would have my doubts as to the 777x. That leaves a stretched 787-10. Like I said I’m biased, so its the A350-1000ULR for me.




definitely the A350-1000 ULR !
watch the DJ’s Aviation podcast if you want to know the reason for this obvious choice


A350-900 ULR already has a range of 18,000 km. This is 1000km further than the sydney – london route proposed by Quantas.

A350 – 1000 ULR most likely can be developed to easily run to a maximum range of 17,500 km which will be plenty to make to make the trip.

A small fleet could feature both 900 and 1000 ULR variants for better flexibility. The 777X IMHO is a little too big and heavy and is more of a risk it being currently unflown.