Qantas has confirmed its order of a dozen Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to operate non-stop flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York from late 2025.
The national carrier announced a multi-billion dollar aircraft order this morning, that it says will reshape the airline’s operations over the next two decades. 40 new A321XLRs and A220s will start to replace Qantas’ domestic fleet of ageing Boeing 737s from late 2023 as a part of ‘Project Winton.’
“New types of aircraft make new things possible. That’s what makes today’s announcement so significant,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
The new Airbus planes are part of ‘Project Sunrise,’ which will see 20 hours flights connecting the major cities.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Qantas hoped to launch the long-haul flights in 2023, but the pandemic prevented the project hitting that target.
The flying kangaroo believes that passengers will pay extra to save time and avoid stopovers in places like Dubai, Singapore, and Los Angeles.
The new flights are geared toward a wealthier class of passengers, with 41 per cent of the plane reserved for premium seats.
The jets will have room for 238 passengers across four cabins: six in first class, 52 in business, 40 in premium economy, and 140 economy.
There will be a “wellbeing zone” on board the flight for passengers to combat the physical toll of the long flights.
Joyce said the A350 will make any city just one flight away from Australia.
“It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance. As you’d expect, the cabin is being specially designed for maximum comfort in all classes for long-haul flying,” he said.
The new A321XLRs will have 200 seats – the 737s they are replacing had 174 – and can fly an extra 3,000 kilometres. This will allow Qantas to send these planes on shorter international flights to South East Asia and the Pacific.
This comes as the flying kangaroo is back on the rise following the pandemic.
Qantas’ net debt dropped from $5.5 billion to $4.5 billion between the end of December last year and the end of April 2022.
The flying kangaroo expects an underlying EBITDA of between $450-$550 million for the second half of the 22 financial year, although a “significant full-year loss” is expected overall.