- Qantas pilots agree to pay deal and related conditions for Project Sunrise ultra long-haul flights.
- Airbus extends deadline for order of special A350-1000s given COVID-19 spread.
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Qantas’ Project Sunrise check marks another step towards its launch as the company’s pilots have voted in favor of its pay deal and conditions.
The new deal means that existing long-haul Qantas pilots can fly these special routes. When the idea was initially presented to the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), there was a lot of kick back as pilots would now have to work much longer hours given that some of these routes could extend as long as 20 hours. Qantas boss Alan Joyce was unfazed by the action and even threatened to hire external labor as the airline was required to place an order by the end of March 2020.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the pilots have since agreed to the changes.
“Reaching an agreement … means that we have now met the flight operations component of the Project Sunrise business case,” said Qantas chief pilot Captain Richard Tobiano in an email to the airline’s pilots.
With that out of the way, Project Sunrise faces another big hurdle as COVID-19 has put a damper on the travel industry. SMH is also reporting that Airbus has granted Qantas an extension on its order given the fact that the airline (among many others) are trying to navigate their way through the crisis.
“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.”
At the moment, Qantas has suspended all international operations until the end of May.
Project Sunrise will feature up to 12 modified Airbus A350-1000s which will operate ultra long non-stop routes between Australia and destinations such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Cape Town, and Rio De Janeiro. The new aircraft will feature a full four-class cabin consisting of a small first class, business class, premium economy and regular economy seating. Before the spread of COVID-19, these flights were initially carded to begin in 2023, but it’s unclear now as to when operations will start.