Australian flag carrier Qantas has chosen Airbus A350-1000 as the preferred aircraft for Project Sunrise.

Under this project, Qantas aims to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from the east coast of Australia, including Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York.

The carrier has planned to launch the project flights during the first half of 2023.

Qantas selected Airbus over Boeing 777X after conducting a detailed evaluation.

Orders have yet to be placed, but the carrier has planned to purchase up to 12 aircraft before its board makes a final decision.

Airbus is also ready to make necessary modifications on its A350 aircraft to meet the requirements of the project’s routes.

The flag carrier will also perform research flights on the New York to Sydney route from tomorrow. This is the last of three research flights under the project.

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The data on the wellbeing of the crew and passengers will be leveraged by Qantas during meetings with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The airline expects to gain approval for the extension of the existing operating limits for the ultra-long-haul services.

CASA has already ‘provisionally advised’ on the fatigue risk management system provided by the carrier for Sunrise flights.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “Between the research flights and what we’ve learned from two years of flying Perth to London, we have a lot of confidence in the market for direct services like New York and London to the east coast of Australia.

“The A350 is a fantastic aircraft and the deal on the table with Airbus gives us the best possible combination of commercial terms, fuel efficiency, operating cost and customer experience.”