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Old 1st March 2020, 10:58 AM
Greg Hyde Greg Hyde is offline
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Qantas moves closer to ultra-long-haul flights after safety approval

Qantas says its plans for ultra-long-haul flights has moved a step closer after a fatigue management system was ticked off by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, despite concerns from the pilots' union over a lack of consultation.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) confirmed on Thursday it had approved Qantas' new fatigue risk management system (FRMS), which allows pilots to fly for more than 20 hours, having assessed it as "robust and capable" during a 12-month trial.

It is the first time CASA has allowed a commercial carrier to design its own fatigue safety systems, rather than have to abide by the regulator's stipulated mandatory breaks and other rules to ensure pilots are alert enough to fly.

Qantas said the system's approval, ticked off on Tuesday, was an important step in making its proposed ultra-long-haul "Project Sunrise" flights from Australia's east coast to London and New York a reality, by allowing it to push pilot duty limits beyond 20 hours.

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Old 1st March 2020, 12:29 PM
Greg McDonald Greg McDonald is offline
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Default smells FAA/Boeing tie-up!!
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Old 12th March 2020, 12:58 PM
Greg Hyde Greg Hyde is offline
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Qantas looks to delay Airbus A350 purchase for Project Sunrise

Qantas plans to delay the purchase of Airbus A350-1000 jets for non-stop Project Sunrise flights to London and New York as the coronavirus sweeps across the world.

Speaking with media following today's announcement of drastic cuts to the airline's international network, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce confirmed that he has asked Airbus for an extension to the March 31 deadline for ordering the aircraft.

“Airbus had given us the delay until the end of March," Joyce said. "That was based on the fact the slots were potentially valuable and could be sold to other airlines. We think in the current environment that may not be the case, nobody seems to be ordering aircraft.

"We would rather wait for the coronavirus issue to be out of the way before we put a firm aircraft order in for the A350," Joyce explained, adding that "we haven’t heard back from Airbus yet, but we’re hopeful we can try and get an extension.”

Qantas has already earmarked an initial order of up to 12 Airbus A350-1000s, which would be modified to include an additional fuel tank for making the 18-20 hour flights needed to connect Sydney and Melbourne to the likes of New York, London and Paris in a single globe-striding leap.

At a list price of US$366.5 million per jet, that represents a massive outlay of US$4.4 billion, although airlines typically receive a discount of up to 50% off the sticker.

Further A350-1000 orders could follow as replacements for Qantas' 12-strong Airbus A380 superjumbo fleet, eight of which will now be mothballed until at least September 2020 due to reduced travel demand in the wake of the coronavirus.

Although Qantas announced its Project Sunrise proposal in August 2017, and has dedicated years of research to the concept, the airline has yet to officially give Project Sunrise the green light, with that go/no-go decision previously due to be made by the end of March 2020.
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Old 30th March 2020, 01:16 PM
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Christopher Campbell Christopher Campbell is offline
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QF pilots vote in approval for Project Sunrise pay deal

Qantas' international pilot group has voted in favour of a new pay deal which the airline said was the final obstacle to it launching new non-stop flights to London and New York.

But the airline's ambitious "Project Sunrise" is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated airlines globally, despite pilots backing the plan to launch ultra-long haul flights from Sydney and Melbourne in 2023.

On Monday, the airline wrote to pilots confirming that the new enterprise bargaining agreement had been voted up, with 85 per cent backing the deal.

"Reaching an agreement... means that we have now met the Flight Operations component of the Project Sunrise business case," Qantas chief pilot Captain Richard Tobiano said in an email to pilots, seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

"The extraordinary circumstances facing aviation has seen Airbus agree to extend the deadline on our decision to purchase the A350s so we can focus on navigating the coronavirus crisis.

"When this period has passed, and it will, we will refocus our attention on Project Sunrise and the A350 order."
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Old 5th May 2020, 12:25 PM
Greg Hyde Greg Hyde is offline
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Coronavirus puts Qantas Project Sunrise on hold

Qantas has halted its ambitious plans for non-stop flights to London, Paris and New York due to uncertainty over travel demand in the post-coronavirus world.

The airline's Project Sunrise was set to launch in just three years' time, by the middle of 2023, but Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has confirmed to Executive Traveller that "we will be putting Project Sunrise on hold."

"We do think there is a huge potential for Project Sunrise but the time is not right now, given the impact that COVID-19 has had on world travel," Joyce reflected. "But we do think there's still a good business case for it, and a good opportunity."

This also means that Qantas won't go ahead with its order of a dedicated fleet of up to 12 Airbus A350-1000 jets intended to tackle those globe-striding flights of 18-20 hours – an order valued as high as $6.8bn (US$4.4bn) based on Airbus' list price.
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Old 14th January 2021, 01:03 PM
Greg Hyde Greg Hyde is offline
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Joyce hints Qantas could buy Project Sunrise A350s this year

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has hinted the business could purchase the Airbus A350-1000s necessary to fly Project Sunrise routes at the end of the year.

“People in the post-COVID world will want to fly direct, which I think makes the Project Sunrise business case even better than it was pre-COVID,” said Joyce at the Reuters Next conference on Wednesday. “At the end of 2021, we can revisit [Project Sunrise] and look at what’s the appropriate time.”

In March, Qantas agreed to a deal with the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) for its members to fly the London and New York to Sydney/Melbourne routes. However, later that month its order for the 12 A350-1000s was pushed back as the COVID crisis grounded all international flights.

Joyce said that while the business would “obviously” not put in an order until international markets recover, he was still “very optimistic” about Project Sunrise.

He added that the slightly shorter Perth-London 787s flights were the “best route on our network” and expected the same for those to the eastern states of Australia.

Project Sunrise has not been without its controversies, with AIPA president Mark Sedgwick hinting last year that the COVID-19 crisis played a part in pilots agreeing on a deal to fly the long route.

“This is an incredibly uncertain time for our members, with many stood down from flying on no pay, with no end in sight,” said Sedgwick. “When we return to flying, our expert pilots will be at the helm as part of Qantas’ ultra long-haul services.”

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