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‘Project Sunrise A350’ en route ahead of Qantas announcement

written by Adam Thorn | May 1, 2022

An A350-1000 is en route from France to Australia (FlightRadar24)

An Airbus-owned A350-1000 is currently en route from the planemaker’s base in Toulouse to Perth, with reports speculating Qantas will confirm its ‘Project Sunrise’ order on Monday morning.

The A350-100, F-WMIL msn 059, departed Toulouse at 9pm local time on Saturday and is due to arrive in Perth at 7:20pm local time.

Qantas, meanwhile, is set to hold a press conference at 8:30am tomorrow where it will make a “significant announcement about the future shape of its network”.

Project Sunrise is the code name for Qantas’ long-planned direct flights from London and New York to Sydney, which will require a specially adapted A350-1000 in order to operate.

A firm order for the aircraft has been delayed numerous times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the program has been placed on ice.


In March 2020, Qantas agreed to a deal with the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) for its members to fly ultra-long-haul routes.

However, after this point, work on Project Sunrise was put on pause due to the pandemic.

Later, in January 2021, Joyce suggested that work on the suspended program could resume by the end of the year, suggesting at the time that a finalised order on the A350-1000 could be completed.

Then in February 2021, Joyce suggested the suspended plans could resume later this year, with a view to launching direct flights from London to Sydney in 2024.

At this time, Joyce also stated that Qantas, being an Australia-based carrier, is the only airline that could make ultra-long-haul travel to and from the country profitable.

“It is a unique opportunity for Qantas because Australia’s so far away from everywhere,” said Joyce, “And we could justify a fleet size of a significant amount of aircraft that makes it economic.

“We have three major cities on the east coast in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. And having flights to London, Frankfurt, Paris, New York, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town, from those cities, creates a significant sub fleet and economics of scale that we think will work really well.

“So, we’re still very keen on it. And we think that’s one of the big things that will change in the next decade, and allow us to have a substantial competitive advantage that nobody else is probably going to introduce.”

In May, Qantas announced that Sydney would be the launch city for Project Sunrise – though it remains unclear as to whether this means it would also be exclusive to the city, or for how long.

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Comment (1)

  • Rodney Marinkovic


    Any planes maker’s have to be proud to carry QANTAS AIRWAYS name
    on their fuselage. In last cases that’s is extraordinary Airbus A350-1000!
    East or West. Qantas is best! Unique in ultra longreach destination.
    Champions in comercial aviation, QANTAS AIRWAYS!
    Qantas and Airbus, tandem of leaders to keeping flag Up.
    World is there’s home. Spirit of Australia. So beatiful.
    Rodney Marinkovic and Aviation Enthusiast Associate Group.
    Winston Hills NSW AUSTRALIA

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