Qantas has appointed one of Air New Zealand’s most senior former executives to take charge of Project Sunrise.
A restructure of top positions means Cameron Wallace will in July be appointed as the new head of the Flying Kangaroo’s international operation, with current executive Andrew David departing later this year.
Project Sunrise is the code name for Qantas’s plan to fly non-stop from London and New York to the east coast of Australia using a new fleet of 12 specially-adapted A350-1000s. Its launch will be one of the most significant moments in the airline’s history.
On Monday afternoon, Qantas surprisingly revealed David, who is CEO of Qantas domestic and international, will retire in September.
His role will then split into two in July, with Wallace overseeing international only and David taking charge of the domestic arm until his departure in September. A new CEO of domestic will then be appointed by Qantas.
Wallace held top positions at Air New Zealand for 14 years, including as its chief commercial officer. He subsequently departed to become the CEO of New Zealand media company MediaWorks.
“At the start of the pandemic, we rationalised the two CEO roles for Qantas Domestic and Qantas International down to one, given what was happening to our business,” explained CEO Alan Joyce.
“With Andrew retiring and given the amount of investment now in the pipeline, it makes sense to again have separate CEOs for the international and domestic businesses, which are both back to generating billions in revenue each year.
“Andrew has contributed a huge amount during his 10 years across both Qantas and Jetstar. His leadership of Qantas’ domestic, international and freight businesses has been pivotal, especially during the incredible challenge of putting the airline into hibernation and bringing it back again.
“On behalf of the board and the rest of the management team, I want to sincerely thank Andrew for what he’s done for the group.
“His contribution spans turning a newly launched Jetstar Japan into an extremely reliable airline, through to bringing Qantas domestic back to its best. The operational, commercial and strategic perspective he’s brought to various situations has been invaluable.
“The Qantas group has always been able to attract top talent, and Cam Wallace is one of the best airline executives in the region.
“He brings over two decades of airline experience, including his long career at Air New Zealand, with responsibilities spanning sales, revenue management, market development, alliances and cargo.
“Cam is inheriting a very talented team and will add to the depth of experience on our Group management committee.”
Wallace – who will likely now be viewed as a favourite to succeed Joyce – said it was an honour to join the Flying Kangaroo.
“It’s the world leader in opening up direct international routes, and Project Sunrise is one of the most exciting things happening in aviation,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to working with Alan and the team.”
Australian Aviation previously reported how Project Sunrise direct flights from Australia’s east coast are likely to begin with New York, not London by the end of 2025.
In comments reported by Bloomberg, Joyce revealed the British capital would follow next, despite its current flights there being its most iconic ‘Kangaroo’ service, and one of the first routes restarted post-pandemic.
The delivery of the A350-1000s is complicated because Qantas has requested they have additional fuel tanks to make the 20-hour flight possible.
Alongside the A350s, Qantas has an order for 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s, to gradually replace its current fleet of Boeing 737 and 717 flying domestically. The order also includes purchase options for up to 94 additional aircraft through to 2034.
Deliveries of the narrow-body aircraft are expected to begin in 2023, while the Project Sunrise aircraft will all arrive by 2028.