One of the most ambitious project taken on by any airline in the world has to be Qantas’ “Project Sunrise”. The idea has the potential to revolutionise the way we intend ULR flights connecting distant and far apart cities. After meeting the aircraft selected, the Airbus A350-1000ULR, we finally got a sneak peek into what the product itself.
Which Will Be The First Destinations For Qantas’ Project Sunrise?
London and New York will be the first to cities to be served with direct services to OZ. Both are lucrative destinations that right now are either reached with a stopover or not served at all.
In both cases Qantas is loosing money on these destinations. In the case of London money is being lost by having to make the stopovers between the origin and destination cities. This implies extra crew and airport costs.
New York on the other hand isn’t served at all by Qantas and travellers can only reach the big apple switching to an American carrier in Los Angeles or Dallas Fort Worth. Clearly if you’re not serving the destination you’re not making money on it.
These will be the first cities of Project Sunrise, however expect others to join if the initial pax figures look encouraging.
What Will The A350-1000’s Layout Be
Of course the layout of the aircraft will be significantly different from the standard long range setup. To extend the range of the Qantas A350-1000ULR the Aussie airline had to come down to some compromises.
The flights between Sydney and London or New York will feature a particularly premium cabin focused layout. These special A350-1000ULRs will be setup with:
- 6 first class private suites in a 1-1-1 configuration. Each of which will have its own wardrobe, 32 inch TV, lounge recliner chair and of course a bed.
- 52 business class seats. Each and every one of these will have direct access to the aisle for maximum comfort. All 52 seats will have access to the business class in flight bar. There will be ample space to stretch and move around between doors L and R 2.
- 40 premium economy seats which will have more leg room and will recline further that the standard economy seat.
- 140 economy seats in the aft of the cabin.
As you can see the number of economy seats is very low compared to what we are used to seeing in the most common long range flights. This gives us an initial idea of how the time saved by avoiding a stopover will come at a monetary price for passengers.
Qantas is concentrating mainly on a higher spending tier of passengers or business passenger for these flights. The target are people that will be happy to pay the extra charge to save the hustle and time waste of going through an extra airport. Often that is the definition of a business traveller.
The Wellbeing Economy Area
Similar to what there will be between doors 2, in business class, there will also be a wellbeing area in the economy classes. Both Premium Economy and standard Economy, will have access to this space where it’ll be possible to walk around and stretch.
Screens will encourage passengers to do blood circulation activation exercises that were initially tested on the 2019 test flights.
When Will These Qantas Flights Take Off?
Unfortunately it won’t be for another 3 years until we see the first project sunrise flights to London and New York take off. We’ll have news in the next 2 years regarding pricing and launch dates.