Boeing, afraid that the A350-1000ULR will be chosen by Qantas for Project Sunrise, have allegedly offered a stop gap solution to replace the 777-8.
Boeing, back in August, postponed indefinitely the development of the 777-8 which has just 54 orders – rumours are swirling that 10 of those will be turned into 777-9’s by Qatar, further reducing its viability.
With that out of the question to meet flight dates off 2022-2023, desperate not to be shut out of the potential orders, Qantas are being offered what sounds like a de-seated premium heavy 777-9 that might just make the grade for the 20 hour flights. The second test flight leaves London today.
The tests, taking place with 40 passengers on a delivery leg are proving they’re viable, but the 787-9 is unlikely to be able to manage it with paying customers.
It’s not even certain that an all-premium offering would even be financially viable.
This frankly, smacks of desperation on Boeing’s end. All too late it seems to have dawned on them that the manufacturer who can prove these flights financially viable, in an aircraft designed to do the job, has a multi-order winner on its hands from multiple airlines.
It would be illogical for Qantas to take on a temporary aircraft. Why would you do that if a viable long term option already exists in the A35K-ULR? Risk the viability of the project just to hang about waiting for a 777-8LR that may never even happen?
Boeing would have to give concrete guarantees, virtually give them the aircraft to make that option even worth considering. Qantas is far too sensible to let the ‘definitely maybe’ a priority over the reality.