What Do We Know About The Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft And Project Sunrise
Author: Australis Gifts Date Posted:24 January 2020
Qantas has selected the Airbus A350-1000 aircraft as it's preferred aircraft for Project Sunrise. Project Sunrise is a plan by Qantas to fly non-stop on ultra-long haul routes of up to 21 hours from the east coast of Australia to destinations such as London and New York. The two aircraft considered for Project Sunrise were the Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777X. The first test flight of the Boeing 777X is scheduled for this month (January 2020).
The Airbus A350-1000 is part of the A350 XWB (extra wide body) family of aircraft that include the A350-900, A350-900ULR and A350-1000. The A350-1000 is a twin aisle aircraft that entered service with Qatar Airways in February 2018. The aircraft can accommodate 350 - 410 passengers in a typical three-class seating configuration, with a fuselage mostly made of carbon fibre re-inforced plastic. The A350-1000 has a flight range of 8,700nmi/16,100km, is 73.79 metres (242 feet) in length, has a wingspan of 64.75 metres (212 feet), and is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan engines. It has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 316 tonne and a maximum payload of 68 tonne, with a maximum cruise speed of 950 km/h.
It is expected Airbus will modify the A350-1000 by adding an additional fuel tank and slightly increase the MTOW for Project Sunrise.
Airbus A350XWB aircraft have Common Type Rating pilot training with the Airbus A330 aircraft. This means A330 pilots can transfer to the A350-1000 aircraft by undertaking "differences training" only, full training in a full-flight simulator is not necessary. Qantas intends to take advantage of the handling similarities between the two fly-by-wire aircraft and use it's pool of A330 pilots across the A330 and A350-1000 fleet should the project go ahead.
As at the end of 2019 thirty-nine A350-1000 aircraft have been delivered to airlines including Air Caraibes, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. Cathay Pacific fly to Australia using an A350-1000 during the northern winter on one of it's Hong Kong - Melbourne flights, Hong Kong - Perth flights and soon on the Hong Kong - Adelaide flight. Qatar Airways currently flies an A350-1000 to Australia on it's Doha - Sydney - Canberra route.
Qantas will decide in March 2020 whether to proceed with an order of up to twelve A350-1000 at an estimated cost of $3 billion. If the project receives regulatory approval and Qantas decides to go ahead with Project Sunrise ultra-long haul flights are expected to commence in the first half of 2023.
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