Qantas selects Airbus A350 as preferred aircraft for Project Sunrise flights
At press time, the Qantas Group announced it had chosen the A350-1000 as the preferred aircraft for Project Sunrise as it proceeds. Read More » Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines will power the preferred aircraft, with Airbus equipping the airplane with an extra fuel tank and also introducing a slight increase in the maximum take-off weight to deliver the performance Project Sunrise flights require.
An official statement said no orders had been placed for Project Sunrise aircraft but Qantas would work closely with Airbus to prepare contract terms for up to 12 aircraft ahead of a final decision by the Qantas board.
Airbus has agreed to extend the deadline to confirm delivery slots from February 2020 to March 2020, providing additional time for the airline group to negotiate an industrial agreement with crew and supporting staff without impacting the planned start date for Project Sunrise flights, which is scheduled for the first half of 2023.
The last of three Project Sunrise research flights, from New York to Sydney, will be conducted on December 17. Once completed, Qantas will have almost 60 hours of “Sunrise Flying” experience and thousands of data points on crew and passenger well-being, the airline said.
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has provisionally advised it sees no regulatory obstacles to the Sunrise flights.