Qantas believes Project Sunrise will generate more than $400 million in earnings in its first full year of having its full fleet in service.
On Tuesday, the Flying Kangaroo said the ultra-long-haul flights, set to begin incrementally from 2025, would help grow its overall international margins from 5 per cent pre-pandemic to up to 12 per cent.
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.
At Qantas’s first investor strategy day since COVID-19, CEO Alan Joyce said his airline was a “structurally different business” to what it was in 2019, operating in markets that have also changed because of COVID-19.
“We’re very well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that creates, and the detail we’ve released today shows our strategy to do it,” said Joyce.
“New technology is central to our plan, and the next-generation aircraft that have started arriving will transform our network over the next few years. We’ll be able to serve our customers better, reduce our cost base through lower running costs and carve out some new competitive advantages.
“Our revenue projections and track record for ongoing transformation show we can invest heavily in people and technology at the same time as generating strong returns for shareholders. That’s exactly the kind of national carrier we want to be.”
The wider Qantas Group also announced plans to sell 10 million fares under $100 this calendar year, a further $110 million investment into a $400 million climate fund, and to “significantly” expand the range of redemption options for frequent flyers.
Vanessa Hudson, the CFO set to succeed Joyce as CEO later this year, said, “All of the extra activity we have planned has to be underpinned by a focus on sustainability, particularly decarbonisation.
“We’re determined to be a leader in this space, and that’s supported by the new commitments we’ve made today, as well as calling for more action industry-wide in the form of a sustainable aviation fuel mandate.
“Our long-term focus remains delivering for customers, employees and shareholders, and making sure we have a strong business that generates strong returns is the best way to enable that.”
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, necessary to fly the routes, is complicated because Qantas has requested they have additional fuel tanks to make the 20-hour flight possible.