Lots of reports have appeared in the aviation press over the last day or so, making me wonder if Airbus have it in the bag for Project Sunrise. For those that don’t know, these are the touted non-stop Qantas flights between New York and Sydney, and London and Sydney.
The specific aircraft on offer are the Boeing 777-8 being pitched against the Airbus A350-1000. There are a few reasons why I think Airbus might have the edge now.
All Airbus All The Time
Recent reports have had quite a lot of comment from people at Airbus on the matter and total radio silence from Boeing. Flight Global have an excellent article from yesterday with a lot of comments from the Toulouse manufacturer.
Executive Traveller published an article today which has even more comments from Airbus. It adds quite a bit more to the story and of the negotiations that are going on.
Does Airbus Have It In The Bag?
By comparison, there is nothing coming out of Boeing and we’re apparently only a month or two away from an aircraft selection by Qantas. Another factor to consider is the delays Boeing are experiencing with the new 777.
The Project Sunrise candidate aircraft is the Boeing 777-8, but development has been put on hold. Instead, the Seattle manufacturer has offered Qantas the larger Boeing 777-9 as a stopgap until the smaller and longer legged plane is available.
Qantas have historically shied away from introducing interim types into their fleet. When it was a choice of waiting until 1961 for the Douglas DC-8 and flying a new piston type as an interim or taking a punt and going with Boeing, they went with Boeing and its 707.
Nobody yet knows what will happen, but the wait is nearly over. Test flights on the long routes are taking place one per month over the next three months with Boeing 787 Dreamliners, with the first in the next few days. These should validate the routes.
It is entirely possible that Airbus have it, with their lighter aircraft that will be available sooner than the competition. Even so, the whole package needs to be considered and that includes long term maintenance costs, any kind of financing deals and more.
The speculation continues and the Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has been at pains to point out that if the business case doesn’t stack up, they won’t be going ahead with it. Let’s keep everything crossed that it does though, as these will be the longest flights in the world if they go ahead.
What do you think? Do Airbus have it in the bag or is it Boeing for the win? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.