Boeing and Airbus compete for "Project Sunrise" of Qantas


Sydney - Qantas wants to fly nonstop from Sydney to London. But with which airplane? Airbus puts the A350-900 in position, Boeing advertises for the 777-8.

This plane means we can finally offer a direct connection between Australia and Europe with our flight from Perth to London,
had said Airline CEO Alan Joyce when Qantas received its first Boeing 787-9 in October 2017. However, the Australians seem not to be satisfied with either by the route or by plane.

In August 2017, Qantas had approached Airbus and Boeing with the "Project Sunrise." The challenge behind this is to deliver an aircraft that will allow Qantas to fly nonstop from Sydney to London Heathrow (9188 nautical miles or 17,016 kilometers) and to New York JFK (8646 nautical miles or 16,012 kilometers) from 2022 onwards. Two next-generation aircraft, the 777X, and A350-900 have nearly the reach. Now the two major aircraft manufacturers compete for Qantas' "Project Sunrise."

Boeing wants to adjust 777-8

Boeing's Chief Engineer of the 777X program, Michael Teal, said that they are working with Qantas and they are highly motivated to join the airline in the Project Sunrise and ensure that the 777X meets airline's needs. The jet, which is currently on paper, does not fulfill all Qantas demands, but surpasses many of them, explains Teal.

777X program chief Eric Lindblad said the 777-8 was seen as the basis for Qantas' plane but still requires some adjustments. Currently, the 777-8 is able to fly 8700 nautical miles (16,112 kilometers) and could be delivered from 2020.

Airbus with Qantas in Toulouse

On the other hand, the first Airbus' A350-900 ULR (Ultra Long Range) is to go to launch customer Singapore Airlines next year to fly directly from Singapore to New York. This model should also be the basis for the Qantas plane. Airbus' chief of sales for the Pacific region, Iain Grant, said that the jet would be able to fly for 20 hours at a time and meets Qantas' needs.

Just before I came here, I had a message from Airbus CEO Tom Enders, who said he was very impressed with the approach of our team in Toulouse for the project,
said Qantas' boss Alan Joyce In late November at a Royal Aero Society event in London. However,
We've got great feedback from both manufacturers,
he also added.

Further improvements required

But Qantas is still not satisfied.

Looking at the long-range capabilities, both plane can do that today but not at full load. We believe that further work on both jets is needed to get there,
said the Quantas' boss.