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Blow to Qantas as Airbus A350 Project Sunrise delayed, new A320 cabin revealed 

On the day Qantas released its results for the first half of the 2023-24 financial year, the Australian flag carrier also chose to announce a host of other developments affecting the airline.  

Among the biggest shocks confirmed on February 22, 2024, was a delay to the delivery of the Airbus A350-1000s which are central to Qantas’ highly publicized ‘Project Sunrise’. 

Qantas was expecting the first of 24 A350-1000s to start arriving in 2025, but as part of its ‘Investment in Customers’ announcement the airline confirmed deliveries would not begin until mid-2026.  

On February 22, 2024, Reuters reported that the ultra-long-range version of the A350-1000 jet designed for Qantas needed an extra fuel tank redesigned.  

Qantas initially ordered 12 A350s in 2022 and then a further 12 in 2023 for Project Sunrise, which will see nonstop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to New York and London. 

The Airbus A321XLR, which is still yet to be certified, will also be delayed from late 2024 to early 2025, while eight additional A321XLRs from the group’s existing order will be directed to Qantas Domestic, bringing the total for the airline to 28.  

In better news for Qantas, QantasLink has now taken delivery of the first two of 29 Airbus A220 aircraft, which will replace its long-serving fleet of Boeing 717s. 

Photos were unveiled of the A220’s new interior, which will seat 137 passengers sat across two cabins, 10 business seats in a 2-2 configuration and 127 seats in economy in a 2-3 configuration. 

Qantas

The A220 will fly between cities like Melbourne, Hobart, Brisbane and Canberra as well as to key regional cities like Coffs Harbour and Launceston. 

The first new Airbus A220 is set to carry its first revenue paying passengers from March 1, 2024. 

Qantas

Qantas also announced upgrades to its app, including bag tracking and improved status updates during disruptions. The Qantas website will also be overhauled from mid-2024. 

Reflecting on Qantas’ finances the airline said that there was a 13% drop in first-half profits to $785.9 million (A$1.25 billion) between July 1 and December 31, 2023 (1H24) from a record high the year before. 

Total flying increased by 25% on an available seat kilometer basis and the group carried 3.3 million more passengers compared with 1H23. 

““We understand the need for affordable air travel and fares have fallen more than 10 per cent since peaking in late 2022. At the same time, we’ve seen a cost benefit from fewer cancellations and delays, and scale benefits as more international flying returns,” Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson said. 

Hudson added: “Our people have been instrumental in the initial recovery we’re seeing and I thank them sincerely. The journey we’re on will take time, but the spirit they are bringing is fantastic and it’s made us optimistic about what we can achieve together.” 

The post Blow to Qantas as Airbus A350 Project Sunrise delayed, new A320 cabin revealed  appeared first on AeroTime.

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