On Monday May 2nd, Australian airline Qantas announced the launch of the first direct commercial flights from Sydney to London and New York by 2025. The company said it ordered 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to operate “Project Sunrise” flights from Sydney to several cities, including London and New York, by the end of 2025.
According to the 2018 catalog tariff, the last year Airbus published indicative prices for its aircraft, the A350-1000 was worth $366.5 million (about 348 million euros). However, this rate does not represent the actual price paid by airlines, as negotiations allow for rebates, particularly when major orders are involved.
New aircraft types make new things possible. It is the final frontier and the ultimate solution to the tyranny of distance.Alan Joyce, Qantas chairman
Qantas confirmed that it achieved a significant reduction in the price of the aircraft. Qantas conducted test flights for long-haul aircraft in 2019, including a 17,750-kilometer London-Sydney one, which took 19 hours and 19 minutes.
The same year, a 16,200-kilometer New York-Sydney test flight lasted just over 19 hours. Singapore Airlines currently operates the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight between Singapore and New York, which takes about 19 hours.
Qantas already operates a link between Perth in southwestern Australia and London of 14,498 kilometers, which takes 17 hours. Qantas stated that the new A350 aircraft will be tailored for 238 passengers in total, with first class offering a separate bed, a reclining seat and a closet.
As you can imagine, the cabin is designed specifically for maximum comfort for long-haul flights.Alan Joyce, Qantas chairman
It also promises a more spacious economy class and an area designed “for moving around, stretching and hydrating”. At the same time, Qantas confirmed that it also ordered 40 A321 XLR and A220 aircraft from Airbus. The company also signed purchase options with 94 more such aircraft until the end of 2034.
In Airbus’ 2018 sales catalog, the A220s cost $81 million for the A220-100 model and $91.5 million for the A220-300. A321 XLR pricing was not listed, as that model was introduced in 2019. “The A320 and A220 will become the backbone of our domestic fleet over the next 20 years, helping to move the country forward,” said Joyce.
The new aircraft would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 15% if powered by fossil fuels, and more if using durable jet fuel. “Post-pandemic, we are a structurally different company. Our share of the domestic market is higher and demand for direct international flights is even stronger than before Covid,” Joyce said.
The A350-1000 aircraft are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbojets, designed to save 25% fuel over the previous generation of aircraft.