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Qantas to use Project Sunrise A350s on shorter trip to Perth

written by Adam Thorn | May 9, 2022

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has confirmed Project Sunrise A350s will service its shorter Perth-London route from 2026.

It’s not known whether the ultra-long-haul Airbus will operate alongside or replace the 787s currently used.

Joyce told The West Australian newspaper that the switch would occur because “we need the extra seats”.

Qantas has said the Airbuses will carry 238 passengers across four classes, compared to the similarly configured Boeing aircraft. However, the newer aircraft will feature lucrative first-class rooms onboard with a door, bed and 32-inch TV.

The decision will come as yet another blow to Boeing in Australia after the Flying Kangaroo chose Airbus to effectively replace its fleet of 737 domestic aircraft.

Last week, Australian Aviation reported how Project Sunrise direct flights from London and New York to Sydney would launch in 2025.


The purchase of the 12 A350s required to make the long trip had been delayed numerous times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the program itself placed on ice. Delivery of all 12 A350-1000s will be completed by 2028.

Joyce said, “New types of aircraft make new things possible. That’s what makes today’s announcement so significant for the national carrier and for a country like Australia where air travel is crucial.

“The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just one flight away from Australia. It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance.”

The news that Perth-London will get A350s also comes weeks before commercial flights will restart on 23 May.

Qantas halted all regular international flights in late March 2020, and only resumed a limited service to London, via Darwin, when borders opened to citizens and residents in November last year.

A staggered reopening of Australia saw backpackers and migrants allowed to travel, before a full reopening to all double vaccinated visa holders commenced in February.

The return to Perth significantly follows a long-running legal dispute between Qantas and the city’s airport over fees was resolved.

In February, the West Australian Supreme Court ordered the Flying Kangaroo to pay more than $9 million in aeronautical fees covering a short period following the expiration of the pair’s previous agreement in mid-2018.

The sum was around $16 million less than the airport had hoped for but above what Qantas wanted to pay.

Comments (5)

  • Adrian P


    Media watch on the ABC has an interesting take on all the media attention regarding Project Sunrise.

  • Mark


    Think the longer Boeing take to fix the shambles they have created for themselves in producing 787s & new versions of 777 the more customers will look elsewhere .

  • Peter


    I have no doubt the A350 will replace the B787 on the PER-LHR-PER services.

  • OVTraveller


    I was under the impression that Project Sunrise was going to include a Melbourne/LHR flight: a direct flight. So why include a reference to Perth, as it infers that the A 350 needs to stop there. Someone please advise to relieve my utter disappointment.

  • Having been very fortunate flying five long haul sectors each in the A350 and 787, passenger comfort wise, they are much on a par. QF may decide to go all AIRBUS, keep the accountants happy, as one type, easy for crew training and spares. Such a shame that Boeing have ended up with this huge and very expensive mess with three models, the 737MAX, 777X and now 787 production issues.

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