Australian airline Qantas announced on Monday that it will launch the world’s first non-stop commercial flights linking Sydney with London and New York by the end of 2025, awarding Airbus a multi-billion dollar order.
It will purchase 12 Airbus A350-1000s to operate Project Sunrise flights to cities such as London and New York from Sydney by the end of 2025, Qantas said in a statement.
At the 2018 list price, the last year Airbus published the indicative prices of its aircraft, the A350-1000 was worth 366.5 million dollars (about 348 million euros). However, this price does not represent the actual price paid by the airlines, as negotiations allow prices to be lowered, particularly for large orders.
Qantas has also confirmed that it has obtained a significant discount on the standard price of the device. “New types of planes make new things possible,” Qantas boss Alan Joyce said in a statement.
Thanks to “A350 and Project Sunrise”, “any city (will be) just one flight from Australia”, he added. “It is the final frontier and the definitive solution against the tyranny of distance”.
Qantas carried out test flights for long-haul flights in 2019, including a 17,750 kilometer London-Sydney test flight, which lasted 19 hours and 19 minutes. The same year, a New York-Sydney test flight 16,200 km long lasted just over 19 hours.
Singapore Airlines currently operates the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight between Singapore and New York, which takes approximately 19 hours.
Qantas’ longest non-stop flight to date links Darwin in northern Australia to London, nearly 14,000 km in 17 hours and 55 minutes. Originally, this flight took off from the city of Perth, in the west of the country, but it was relocated to Darwin due to Covid-19 restrictions in Australia. Qantas said it would resume the Perth-London route this year.
– “Maximum comfort” –
“As you’d expect, the cabin is specially designed for maximum comfort for long-haul flights,” Joyce said.
Qantas said the new A350 aircraft would be configured for 238 passengers in total with First Class offering a separate bed, recliner and wardrobe. The company promises more spacious economy sections and an area designed to “move, stretch and hydrate”.
At the same time, Qantas confirmed to also order 40 A321 XLR and A220 planes from Airbus. Additionally, the company has taken options to purchase another 94 of these aircraft through the end of 2034.
In the 2018 list prices, the A220s were quoted between $81 million for the A220-100 and $91.5 million for the A220-300. The price of the A321 XLR was not indicated, the aircraft manufacturer having unveiled this model in 2019.
“The A320s and A220s will become the backbone of our national fleet for the next 20 years, helping to drive this country forward,” the airline’s president said.
The new plane would cut emissions by at least 15% if it ran on fossil fuels, and more if it used sustainable aviation fuel, he said.
“At the end of the pandemic we are a structurally different company”, underlined Alan Joyce. “Our domestic market share is higher and the demand for direct international flights is even stronger than it was before Covid.”
The A350-1000 planes will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan engines, designed to be 25% more fuel efficient than the previous generation of planes, Qantas said.