Qantas has chosen the A350-1000ULR to fulfil its Project Sunrise programme, permitting non-stop flights between London and Sydney and Sydney to New York.
A formal order will be made in March 2020 – IF Qantas commit to Project Sunrise fully, which they haven’t yet done. This is just saying “this is the aircraft we’ll use if we go ahead”.
As I’ve always said there was little doubt that if they had to pick the only viable aircraft was the A350-1000ULR, nothing else comes close and Boeing were miles behind and too preoccupied with there own problems to put much energy behind it.
Doubts were being expressed just in the last two weeks – and I believe they were genuine. I suspect that the threat of a European airline like Virgin Atlantic doing it if Qantas didn’t, coupled to the Israeli decision to fly Melbourne-Tel Aviv in April-May 2020, forced the Qantas board to see they could be left out if they didn’t proceed with an aircraft choice.
It seems frankly inconceivable now that they won’t go ahead in March next year.
First flights will begin at the start of 2023 if it’s confirmed.