Qantas to upgrade Perth-London to Project Sunrise A350

First class travel is coming to the non-stop Kangaroo Route thanks to Qantas’ new globe-striding A350 aircraft.

By David Flynn, May 9 2022
Qantas to upgrade Perth-London to Project Sunrise A350

Qantas’ Project Sunrise fleet of Airbus A350s won’t be restricted to Australia’s east coast capitals, with the airline confirming non-stop flights between Perth and London will also see a daily A350 replacing the current Boeing 787 in 2026.

The swap will not only put more seats onto this west coast version of the Kangaroo Route  – sometimes nicknamed the Quokka Route, after the state’s small but ever-smiling marsupial – but also add six private first class suites, which are sure to be popular on the 17-hour trek.

“We need the extra seats” on the well-patronised route, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce tells The West Australian, citing pre-pandemic booking levels hovering around 95% of the Dreamliners’ 236-seat capacity.

And while the A350 will have only two more seats from tip to tail, there’ll be a far higher number of seats in both the business and premium economy cabins, along with those swish first class suites.


As previously reported
, the A350-1000s which Qantas is ordering for Project Sunrise also include roomier versions of premium economy and economy class than the Boeing 787, along with a dedicated ‘wellness zone’ strategically located between those two cabins where passengers can follow stretching exercises on video screens to help battle non-stop flight fatigue.

The Qantas Airbus A350 wellness zone.
The Qantas Airbus A350 wellness zone.

Joyce’s announcement will also quell speculation that Qantas plans to axe the Perth-London service, launched in March 2018, once its non-stop Sydney-London and Melbourne-London Project Sunrise flights take wing from late 2025.

In mid-2019, Joyce told Executive Traveller that the ongoing success of the Perth-London flights guaranteed their survival in the post-Sunrise era.

“What we’re seeing, which is really encouraging, is how well Perth-London is doing, particularly with our passenger traffic… over 75% originates or terminates in Perth for that flight.”

“So what that has shown is that we can do Project Sunrise in addition – we wouldn’t take Perth-London out.”

The coming months will see the launch of direct flights from Perth to Rome in June 2022, while Qantas remains in discussion with Perth Airport on the possibility of non-stop flights to Johannesburg, which would further burnish the city's role as an Australian international port for Qantas and also replace the withdrawn Perth-Jo’burg service previously run by beleaguered South African Airways.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1087

QF only has 4 slot pairs at LHR, 2 it currently uses and 2 currently leased to BA. With slot pairs at LHR selling for over $100M it is unlikely QF would be interested in pbuying another pair so it is really limited to 4 daily flights. This would seem to be:

- A380 SYD-SIN-LHR

- A35K SYD-LHR

- A35K MEL-LHR

- 789 PER-LHR

On this scenario, I'd expect the domestic tag on the PER-LHR flight to change from MEL to BNE.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1393

Domestic tag from BNE doesn't make much sense due to the extra distance flown which adds well over an hour to the flying time.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 99

Maybe they'll do BNE and MEL on a 3/4 day split, being as Sydney centric as they are

01 Jun 2017

Total posts 13

Not even sure whether it will be A380 for SYD-SIN-LHR. There will be over capacity. Likely downgrade from A380 to 787 and deploy the A380 to do the other daily run of SYD-SIN.

As it is now with only A380 for SYD-SIN-LHR and 787 for MEL-PER-LHR, it is just about the right capacity allowing QF to claim MEL-PER-LHR a trophy flight.

08 May 2020

Total posts 34

For Brisbane I can’t see any easy options.  Could they fly a BNE International to SYD international flight once a day that connects well with sunrise routes? A special one so travellers can do less in SYD - otherwise I don’t see BNE travellers wanting to pay the sunrise premium considering SIN is easier to transfer than SYD

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 470

And yet AJ has repeatedly listed BNE as one of the ports to have A350 flights to LHR (though without ever putting a date on it). 

He's going to have to order a lot more than 12 A350s to run all these LHR flights as well as to JFK.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Oct 2015

Total posts 4

I doubt that Qantas would want to do this (not enough passengers want to go to Helsinki as a destination city)... but I'd be curious if Finnair might want to do it.  They've traditionally advertised themselves as a hub to destinations in south east and east asia - but a direct flight to perth might be attractive for customers in central, eastern and northern europe

30 Nov 2016

Total posts 19

Domestic tag no really necessary to change as people from BNE (and SYD for that matter) can still get a dom flight to PER.

Likewise people from BNE and MEL could still travel via Singapore taking their respective flights to SIN and meeting the 1 through to LHR

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1087

The tag is necessary as the 789 operating LHR-PER needs to return to the east cost for maintenance purposes. QF has no heavy maintenance capabilities for 787s in PER.

You are correct that BNE and MEL pax could join QF1 in SIN just as they do now but the ability to have a same plane single stop service from BNE to LHR would be attractive to QF's business customers. MEL business pax are probably not in the same category assuming they have access to the non-stop A350 service.

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 186

Qantas now plan to replace the Tuesday 787 on the MEL-PER leg with a 330 (starting 11th Feb), so will be interesting to find out where the 787 will go to/from Perth. Perhaps BNE?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1087

I would guess that it does another PER-LHR-PER cycle before returning east.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 620

It will head back to London as the inbound Melbourne-Perth will also be an A330. As reported here (I think) the reasoning is that plane would sit in Melbourne all day as on that day it isn't needed to fly into the US out of Melbourne which in turn frees up another 787 do do an extra US flight out of Brisbane.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 348

So much speculation, let's just wait and see what QF announce.

Being based in BNE, I would continue flying via Singapore rather than same aircraft option via Perth, should a direct option not be available.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 119

As expected the flight is doing very well and most PAX are stopping or starting with Perth as the first or final destination. Premium cabin always full and never on sale always a good sign.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 620

In many ways if loads are good it would make a lot of sense to order a few more A350's (assuming the order goes ahead) and change QF9/10 to an A350 too and provide better connecting flights from places like Adelaide and Canberra.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 147

If 75% of traffic originates or terminated in Perth it doesn't build a strong case of MEL to LHR.

Perhaps MEL will get another European destination.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1393

That just shows demand for the non-stop. MEL-PER-LHR is just another one-stopper, albeit with a slightly longer leg. QF can't really get a premium for that so would prefer PER or WA regional customers.

MEL and SYD direct are a different ball game.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

I'm not sure about this? Qantas wouldn't be wanting just to move current MEL-PER-LHR onto direct MEL-LHR services. They also have MEL-SIN-LHR, MEL-DXB-LHR (codeshare), customers in other ports to transit through MEL and then also attract customers who currently fly other airlines but would be interested in flying direct (Yes, I know not everyone wants to fly direct!).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Mar 2019

Total posts 21

Hope QF can resolve the issue with Perth Airport so we can see PER-CDG and PER-FRA happening.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

And PER-JNB... the stupidity of Perth airport is really outstanding.

I'm not Finnish, nor Scandinavian. But take a look at this:
1. Distance Perth to Helsinki (avoiding Iraq, Iran and Ukraine): 8,139.62 mi (13,099.46 km)
2. Distance Perth to London (NOT avoiding Iraq, Iran and Ukraine): 8,999.55 mi (14,483.38 km)
3. Distance London to Helsinki: 1,131.59 mi (1,821.11 km)
4. Direct Flights between Helsinki and London with ONE WORLD partner BRITISH AIRWAYS: 1
5. Direct Flights between Helsinki and London with ONE WORLD partner FINNAIR: 5-7
6. Helsinki airport awarded the best customer service in Europe

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1035

Would Qantas want to go to Helsinki though?

The Air Service Agreement with Finland allows for 2800 seats/week with no apparent 5th freedom allowance (meaning they then couldn't fly on to elsewhere in Europe).

This would allow 11 flights/week with the current QF 787-9 config, 9 flights with the planned Sunrise capacity (300 seats) or 5 flights/week with an A380. (this is better then Mainland France which allows for 6 789 flights, 4 Sunrise flights or 3 A380 flights/week from Australia to Paris)

Where as AU-UK is unlimited flights, limited only by airport capacity.

15 Oct 2019

Total posts 9

Think I'll stick with BNE - SIN - LHR on the A380, thanks. When's it going to be replaced, and then, with what? (Also, I'll forget "Sunrise" and go BNE - LAX - ORD. The thought of being squeezed for an extra 4-5 hours in a 787 would have me pawing at the carpet. As for non-stop to New York - eeeeeh!

08 May 2020

Total posts 34

Could Qantas fly a special BNE international to SYD international flight that dovetails with the sunrise flights nicely?  I can’t think of any other reason BNE pax would pay a premium for sunrise as SIN is much easier transfer than SYD

bsb
bsb

21 Jul 2011

Total posts 82

Interesting - if you do the maths, there’s not much room for many other routes assuming they do do MEL LHR as well as SYD LHR/NYC. RIO and CPT seem like pipedreams now 🤔

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 470

AJ has only ordered 12 A350s. There's no way that number of aircraft will cope with all the routes he's mentioned. With today's PER announcement on top of SYD-LHR and MEL-LHR, that doesn't leave enough for the LAX routes he's already mentioned - yet alone any of the BNE routes on the A350 that he's repeatedly mentioned.

He's going to need a lot more A350s than are currently ordered. Though don't forget that QF has a lot of B787 options still in its contract.

25 Jun 2021

Total posts 22

Just leave the A380 on to Singapore then London, iam sure some will take the none stop, but theres no way the none stops will be the majority. I do Brisbane to Manchester Emirates 1st and thats still boring as bat S==..... 14.5 Hrs jesus who wants to do any longer.


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