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QANTAS Makes ‘Project Sunrise’ Aircraft Decision

After detailed evaluation of Boeing 777X and Airbus A350 aircraft, Qantas has announced that Airbus’ A350-1000 is the preferred aircraft for its proposed ultra long haul ‘Project Sunrise’ routes.

Having said that, it’s worth noting that regulatory support for the new routes is still pending, and discussions with Qantas pilots are ongoing.

No aircraft orders have been placed yet, but Qantas will work closely with Airbus to prepare contract terms for up to 12 aircraft ahead of a final go/no-go decision by the Qantas Board in March 2020.

“Qantas’ Project Sunrise planning is really exciting,” said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“New aircraft, new in-flight experience, and new ultra long haul city-pairs mean exciting new opportunities for our business and our clients. We look forward to adding them to our service and expertise mix as they roll out”

Peter Hosper, Managing Director of The Travel Authority Group.

Trialling in-flight menus for Qantas’ ultra long-haul ‘Project Sunrise’ services.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline’s support for Project Sunrise was stronger than ever, particularly after the success of recent ‘dry run’ research flights.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, aboard the airline’s non-stop London to Sydney test flight.

“Between the research flights and what we’ve learned from two years of flying Perth to London, we have a lot of confidence in the market for direct services like New York and London to the east coast of Australia.

In-flight exercises aboard Qantas’ recent non-stop ‘Project Sunrise’ test flight between London and Sydney.

“The A350 is a fantastic aircraft and the deal on the table with Airbus gives us the best possible combination of commercial terms, fuel efficiency, operating cost and customer experience.”

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce.

If things go to plan, the first commercial Project Sunrise flights will take to the air in the first half of 2023.

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HISTORIC QANTAS Non-Stop London Flight Touches Down

Qantas’ Project Sunrise London to Sydney non-stop research flight lands after more than 19 hours in the air.

Qantas has kicked off 12 months of centenary celebrations as it marks a fresh milestone in aviation with a non-stop London to Sydney flight.

Flown by the latest addition to the national carrier’s fleet, a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the airline’s Centenary livery landed in Sydney at 12:28pm, 19 hours and 19 minutes after leaving Heathrow.

It follows the non-stop New York to Sydney flight as the second of three research flights aimed at improving crew and passenger wellbeing on ultra long haul services being considered.

The flight was operated by a brand-new Boeing 787-9 registration VH ZNJ—named Longreach—and, on landing, was met by more than 1,000 Qantas employees to mark the flying kangaroo’s 99th birthday.

The service was a re-purposed delivery flight. Rather than flying from Boeing’s factory in Seattle back to Australia empty, the aircraft was positioned in London to simulate one of the Project Sunrise routes under consideration by Qantas. All carbon emissions were offset.

“This is another landmark flight from the national carrier,” said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“We look forward to a not-too-distant day now when our clients can travel extraordinary distances in a single hop. These are exciting times, and we’re delighted that Qantas is right at the forefront of them,” added Hosper.

The direct flight reduced total travel time by around two hours compared with current one-stop services from the east coast of Australia. It was only the second time any commercial airline has flown this route non-stop, after Qantas flew a near-empty 747-400 in 1989.

“Almost a century after our first flight, Qantas and Jetstar carry more than 50 million people around this country and the globe each year. I’m sure that would amaze our three founders, who held the early board meetings of this company at the local tailor’s shop because it was the longest table they could find,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

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All photos shown here are credited to James D Morgan/Qantas.

QANTAS Direct New York Test Flights

As part of Qantas’ revolutionary ‘Project Sunrise’ ultra long-haul flights development program, the airline’s first official test flight on its proposed non-stop Sydney to New York takes flight on 18 October.

No airline has ever had the capabilities to operated a non-stop Sydney to New York flight. But on the back of Qantas’ successful—and popular—non stop services between Perth and London, this route is next on the airline’s list of goals.

Non-stop flights from New York and London to Sydney will take around 19 hours each, subject to wind and weather conditions.

The primary purpose of the research flight that will operate with just 40 people aboard including crew, is to collect data about in-flight passenger and crew health and well-being on ultra-long-haul journeys.

The on-board research is being designed in partnership with Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre and Monash University in conjunction with CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity.

People in the cabin – mostly Qantas employees – will be fitted with wearable technology devices and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the flights. Scientists and medical experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and in-flight entertainment to assess impact on health, well-being and body clock.

“Flying non-stop from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

“For customers, the key will be minimising jet lag and creating an environment where they are looking forward to a restful, enjoyable flight. For crew, it’s about using scientific research to determine the best opportunities to promote alertness when they are on duty and maximise rest during their down time on these flights,” he added.

Findings on crew well-being data will be shared with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to help inform regulatory requirements associated with ultra-long haul flights.

We wish Qantas, the test crew and passengers all the best on this historic flight, and we look forward to seeing the results.

In other news, Qantas’ newest 787 Dreamliner has rolled out of the paint shop at Boeing’s factory in Washington State today, wearing a special Centenary livery to celebrate the flying kangaroo’s 100th year in the skies.

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QANTAS Testing Non-Stop Flights to New York & London

Qantas has announced three ultra-long-haul research flights to collect data about passenger and crew health and wellbeing.

The flights form part of Project Sunrise – Qantas’ goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from Australia’s east coast of to London and New York.

The three research flights will be operated by brand new 787-9s on re-routed delivery flights from Boeing. Rather than flying empty from Seattle, the aircraft will simulate two Project Sunrise routes – London and New York to Sydney.

This will represent the first ever flight by a commercial airline direct from New York to Sydney, and only the second time a commercial airline has flown direct from London to Sydney.

Each flight will have a maximum of 40 people, including crew, in order to minimise weight and ensure the necessary fuel range.

The passengers – mostly Qantas employees – will be fitted with wearable technology and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the roughly 19 hour flights. Scientists and medical experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment to assess impact on health, wellbeing and body clock.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said “flying from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right.

“No airline has done this kind of dedicated research before and we’ll be using the results to help shape the cabin design, inflight service and crew roster patterns for Project Sunrise. We’ll also be looking at how we can use it to improve our existing long-haul flights,” he added.

An Airbus A350 in Qantas livery.

Airbus and Boeing have both pitched aircraft (A350 and 777X) to Qantas that are capable of operating Project Sunrise flights with a viable commercial payload. A final decision on Project Sunrise – which depends on aircraft economics, regulatory approvals and industrial agreements – is expected by the end of December 2019.

Watch this space.

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Qantas Plans For An Ultra-Long-Haul Future

Qantas has been surveying passengers as they disembark from the airline’s direct London to Perth services to capture their experience, suggestions and feedback.

The new research, captured in late 2018 in conjunction with Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre, is being conducted as Qantas prepares for what it considers the final frontier of global commercial air travel—non-stop flights from Australia’s east coast to New York and London expected to start from 2022.

Boeing 777X aircraft sketches. Source: Boeing.

The results?

Health and wellness are the top trends coming through the research, with a strong focus on mindfulness and “separation of experience” at different stages of a long-haul flight.

Stationary exercise bikes and virtual reality relaxation and entertainment are among several innovations Qantas customers have also suggested.

Visions of long haul travel then and now.

David Caon, Qantas Industrial Designer, said Project Sunrise is pushing not just the boundaries of distance, but also product innovation.

“Customers are sharing some incredibly imaginative ideas, which is an exciting challenge and helps us to think outside of the box to redefine the ultra-long-haul experience,” he said.

Boeing’s 777X with its unique folding wingtips.

So what were the five most frequent Project Sunrise suggestions from customers?

  • Provide “sense of separation” experiences where passengers can be social but then “zone out” with either virtual reality relaxation zones, audio mindfulness experiences, or through the broader in-flight entertainment.
  • Spaces to do gentle exercise/stretches, promoting circulation and comfort.
  • Wireless, noise cancelling headsets.
  • Innovative cabin designs across the entire aircraft, considering both seat and non-seat spaces to focus on a broad range of traveller needs including comfort, sleep, dining, entertainment and state of mind.
  • An in-flight cafe offering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including wine, fresh juices, herbal teas and tisanes and mocktails along with snacks including dips with vegetable sticks as well as “treat foods”.

Qantas’ Boeing 787 Dreamliners currently operate Perth to London non-stop flights.

“With the major aircraft manufacturers really pushing the ultra-long-haul envelope, the rapidly approaching future of flight looks exciting. Heightened levels of comfort and amenities will be essential as passengers weigh up the convenience vs comfort equation of ultra-long-non-stop flights”, says The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“Time is really valuable to our clients. The premium will they be prepared to pay for a shorter journey time remains to be seen. For airlines, cabin space is finite, they have to make it work really hard. The economics of this are fascinating”, adds Hosper.

Premium seating concept sketches for Boeing’s 777X aircraft.

CEO Qantas International Alison Webster said the new research is showing increased interest towards physical well-being, state of mind and personal time and space.

“Customer feedback from the Perth to London flight has exceeded expectations. The engagement and enthusiasm we’re seeing from this research highlights how passionate our customers are to be a part of the evolution of ultra-long-haul travel.

“Everything is on the table and we are excited about what innovations may come from this research”, said Ms Webster.

Qantas is expected to make an announcement around Project Sunrise later in 2019, including which aircraft type it would operate, with both the Boeing 777X and the Airbus A350 under consideration.

What would you like to see on an ultra-long-haul aircraft?

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