QANTAS is set to confirm plans for non-stop flights from London to Australia TOMORROW with a blockbuster order of new jets to operate the ultra-long haul route.
The airline has spent almost five years working on so-called “Project Sunrise”, plotting record-breaking flights of more than 20 hours from Sydney to London and Sydney to New York.
It is set to confirm an order for up to a dozen Airbus A350-1000s at Sydney Airport on Monday morning.
Qantas had intended to launch its Sunrise flights by 2023 but the Covid pandemic put the project on hold.
An Airbus-owned A350 was on route from the plane manufacturer’s base in Toulouse, France and was due to touch down in Perth just before 7pm local time, according to tracking site FlightRadar24.
Industry sources confirmed Monday’s announcement would also include the finalisation of Qantas’ domestic fleet replacement, which involves an order of up to 134 Airbus A320neo and A220 aircraft over the next decade.
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The A220 is not currently used by any local airline.
But an A220 owned by airBaltic – which does not usually fly to Australia – landed at Sydney Airport on Saturday night, FlightRadar24 shows.
On Friday, Qantas sent journalists a media alert flagging a “significant announcement” at Sydney Airport on Monday.
The announcement is expected to confirm the massive order with Airbus.
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A spokesman for the airline declined to comment on Sunday.
Sun Travel tested the record-breaking London – Sydney route in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner back in 2019.
We joined four pilots, scientists and other non-paying passengers for the exclusive trial, jetting non-stop through the air for over 19 hours.
Qantas confirmed it had selected the A350 for its Project Sunrise flights the same year and said in December last year it had also chosen Airbus to renew its ageing domestic fleet.
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Its Airbus order is a huge blow to American manufacturer Boeing, whose 737s are the current backbone of the airline's domestic operations.
It had also pitched its new 777X for the record-breaking non-stop flights to London and New York.
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