Updated: Dec 21, 2019
A few weeks ago, Qantas announced that they were not satisfied with the current options for aircraft for their Project Sunrise, which hopes to have nonstop flights from Sydney to London and New York. They were deciding between the 777X and the Airbus A350-100ULR for their flights, which they hope to be flying by 2023. Today, Qantas just announced their preference for the A350-1000ULR, and they plan to confirm delivery slots in early 2020.
Project Sunrise has been a major plan for the Australian national carrier as they have been actively working to connect London and Sydney, two cities that have never had non-stop service before.
Qantas made huge progress last year with their Perth to London flight on their Boeing 787, the first non-stop flight from Australia to London, but they have been determined to fly from Sydney to London. Qantas currently has a flight from Sydney and Melbourne to London via Singapore. In the past few months, Qantas has been testing non-stop flights from New York and London to Sydney to ensure that passengers will not be too uncomfortable on such a long flight. The tests proved successful, so Qantas is continuing on their plans with the project. Next week, Qantas will have their third and final Project Sunrise test flight, which will give them over 60 hours of experience with these ultra long haul routes.
This order is another hit to Boeing, which has had a terrible year. Due to the ongoing 737MAX crisis, Boeing has had to shift its focus on fixing the MCAS system, which has reduced the priority of many of their other projects. Last week, United, an airline that has been loyal to Boeing, announced that they will order 50 A321XLR to replace their aging 757s. This was a surprise, as United had previously expressed interest in ordering Boeing's upcoming NMA.