Project Sunrise appears to be the project that “could”, but not the project that’s coming anytime soon. Established as Qantas’ “top secret” exploration of ultra-long-haul flying in 2019, the airline set out to better connect the world.
During the early phases of exploration, the airline quite literally testing the limits of passengers and aircraft alike, with private test flights monitoring passenger health and aircraft performance on one-off flights spanning 20+ hours.
But then, the obvious.
A nearly unprecedented global health crisis took over, Australia closed its borders in extreme fashion and the concept of flights anywhere outside of Australia became obscure, so flights to the farthest reaches of the globe became a non starter.
With Australia fully open, testing free, Project Sunrise is back, with formal plans to connect New York and London with the Sydney on some of the world’s longest flights.
Qantas has announced orders for 12 state of the art Airbus A350 aircraft, which will be customized for the mission. In an exciting addition, the Australian flag carrier has also announced an impressive new first class cabin to match.
Qantas Confirms Project Sunrise Debut
The only catch to all the excitement? It’ll be the tail end of 2025 before you’ll have a chance to experience Project Sunrise, at the very earliest.
Qantas is taking the opportunity to remind the world that Australia is open, and getting there will only become easier over time. Project Sunrise is now a “go”, with an order for 12 Airbus A350’s, which will feature entirely new specced out cabins to match the long flights.
Details Of Qantas’ Project Sunrise A350’s
Qantas will introduce a rather beautiful new first class cabin on these ultra-long haul A350’s, with a separate bed and seat for the journey. Just six first class suite swill adorn each plane, accompanied by 52 business class “suites”, 40 premium economy seats and 140 economy seats.
Qantas promises 33” of “pitch”, which basically means legroom for these flights, which make them among the roomiest in the skies today, but not actually definitively roomier than some seats flying today. Emirates, for example, offers 32-34” of pitch on the A380.
Premium economy on the Qantas ‘Project Sunrise’ A350’s will offer 40” of pitch. That’s a seriously impressive cabin, considering Singapore Air offers 38” of pitch for one of the world’s most loved premium cabins.
Business class is now referred to as “suites” implying the inevitability of a door added to whatever seat will feature. With a whopping 52 business class suites, its clear that Qantas sees this flight as a breadwinner for connecting financial and business hubs.
If there’s one thing that rings true, its that executives and businesses aren’t big fans of long connections and journey times. Being able to hop on a plane and end up at a final destination in comfort is worth a premium. Qantas clearly believes they’ll get one.
2025 Is A Long Way Away
It’s thrilling to see aviation quite literally reaching new lengths, as these capitals are connected, but 2025 is a long way away. In that span of time, the project could shift significantly.
There’s so much happening with battery technology, electric engines and the possibility of supersonic flight that it’s just impossible to know how these plans will fare over time.
If Qantas nails it, it will be a seriously impressive and convenient way to fly in time for December holidays in 2025 though.