Today, Qantas unveiled the company’s highly anticipated foray into “ultra-long-haul flying”, called Project Sunrise, meaning we’ll soon be able to hop on one direct flight from Australia’s east coast to the UK and the US.
“It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance,” said CEO Alan Joyce in a statement to the press. The company didn’t state how long these flights might take, but estimations indicate it could be a 20-hour flight, based on a test flight from New York to Sydney in 2019 which took 19 hours, 16 minutes.
Standard flights between Australia’s east coast and London currently take approximately 24 hours with one stopover. At the moment that’s Darwin, Perth or Shanghai if you’re flying Qantas. So the new direct routes will shave around four hours off the journey and take away the pain of going through security in more than one airport.
The new direct routes will be introduced in 2025 when the first of 12 Airbus A350-1000s take to the skies, jetting passengers from New York and London to Sydney. There are also plans to expand the routes; the company says it will be capable of reaching “almost any city in the world” (including destinations such as Paris and Frankfurt) without stopovers.
Nonstop flights between Perth and London, a route that launched in 2017, were put on hiatus due to the pandemic. This month, the route will be reactivated earlier than expected with flights resuming from May 23, and tickets available now. A new direct route between Perth and Rome will also begin from June.
In a media release, Qantas said first-class passengers on the new fleet will be “treated to luxurious first-class suites with a separate bed, recliner lounge chair and personal wardrobe” and business-class travellers will get “a next-generation business suite”. Those in economy will also have access to “a dedicated wellbeing zone designed for movement, stretching and hydration”. More than 40 per cent of cabin space in the Airbus A350-1000s will be dedicated to premium seating.
The company also said all Project Sunrise routes will be carbon neutral from day one.
“These newer aircraft and engines will reduce emissions by at least 15 per cent if running on fossil fuels, and significantly better when run on sustainable aviation fuel,” said Joyce in a statement.