Sydney, Australia - Qantas is approaching to its target of connecting the Eastern part of Australia to New York and London with non-stop flights.
To this end, the Australian flag carrier has already carried out two research flights for the project with no paying passenger on board on New York - Sydney and London - Sydney routes with its Dreamliners. The third and the last research flight with a Boeing 787-9 jet will be conducted next month.
Next year, the airline plans to order 12 aircraft to operate on these routes, either the Airbus' ultra-long-range variant of A350 or the Boeing's upcoming widebody 777X.
Such an order would make Qantas the operator of the largest ultra-long-haul fleet in the world. Singapore Airlines is currently operating the largest ultra-long-haul fleet of the world with seven Airbus A350-900ULRs.
The acquisition plan of a dozen initial jets gives us a hint that Qantas aims to operate more non-stop, ultra-long-haul services besides the New York and London routes.
Although New York and London are now the focus cities, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce had also mentioned Paris, Buenos Aires, and Cape Town, (later Chicago)Cfrom Melbourne and Sydney when he officially announced "Project Sunrise" in 2017.
Qantas' only direct, the ultra-long-haul flight has been served between Perth (Western Australia) and London. If launched, "Project Sunrise" will allow the Australian operator to consider many ultra-long-haul combinations.