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Qantas’ Project Sunrise delayed until 2026

written by Adam Thorn | February 22, 2024

Qantas’ Project Sunrise direct flights from Sydney to London and New York are set to be delayed by six months to mid-2026.

The airline blamed “manufacturing delays” at Airbus, which means the first of its specially adapted A350-1000s will now not arrive by its original delivery date of the end of next year.

The Flying Kangaroo has ordered a fleet of 12 A350s to operate the ultra-long-haul flights alongside a further 12 traditional A350s to help replace its ageing A330s.

Qantas is likely to be the only airline in the world to operate the services, with former CEO Alan Joyce arguing Australia’s position in the world meant only it would be able to justify investing in a large fleet of ultra-long-haul aircraft. Its launch is set to be one of the most significant moments in the carrier’s history.


It comes after Qantas in June last year released previews of all cabins within its new A350-1000s that will fly Project Sunrise flights.

In total, each aircraft will feature six first-class suites alongside seats for 52 in business, 40 in premium economy and 140 in economy. It will even feature a unique ‘wellness zone’ for stretching, available to passengers from all classes.

The luxurious first suite provides customers with a boutique hotel experience in the comfort of their cabin. It boasts a spacious layout with a wide fixed bed, a separate recliner chair, a personal wardrobe, a dining table for two, and a 32” ultra-high-definition TV.

The smaller business class, meanwhile, features a two-metre flatbed, ample storage space, a large mirror, cushioned leather ottoman, an 18” ultra-high-definition touch screen TV, a large dining table, and stylish feature lighting.

Both first and business-class cabins offer multiple options for charging personal devices, including wireless induction charging.

The manufacturing problems at Airbus, meanwhile, will also delay the arrival of the first A321XLR for domestic flight to early 2025.

Qantas is currently in the middle of a huge fleet renewal program that will transform its domestic and international aircraft.

Internationally, Qantas will receive 12 new 787 Dreamliners and 12 Airbus A350s to replace the bulk of its ageing A330 fleet, alongside the separate order for 12 specially adapted A350-1000 jets to launch Project Sunrise.

Domestically, the airline will purchase 28 Airbus A321XLRs and 29 A220-300s to fly its domestic routes, but with the option to buy many more.

Subsidiary brand Jetstar has already begun welcoming its new fleet of 38 A320neos, comprised of 18  long-range A321LRs and 20 A321XLR aircraft – an even longer-range variant.

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