Qantas adds non-stop Frankfurt flights to Project Sunrise

Europe's financial capital could see direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne by the mid-2020s.

By David Flynn, December 14 2019
Qantas adds non-stop Frankfurt flights to Project Sunrise

Qantas hopes to begin non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Frankfurt as part of Project Sunrise, with the German financial hub joining London and Paris with a direct link to Australia's east coast.

To date the English and French capitals have been the only European destinations listed for the Project Sunrise network, which Qantas this week confirmed would rely on a fleet of extended-range Airbus A350-1000 jetliners.

However, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce tells Executive Traveller that Frankfurt is also on the Sunrise short-list.

Qantas is ready to add Frankfurt to the Project Sunrise route map.
Qantas is ready to add Frankfurt to the Project Sunrise route map.

Speaking at the official opening of the new Qantas Singapore First Lounge about the airline's broader European strategy, Joyce said one plank of the playbook was "to fly direct, where those direct flights are with Sunrise, and we may only have three destinations we'll ever do that with: London, Paris and Frankfurt."

Joyce has previously alluded to Paris and Frankfurt as potential Boeing 787-9 routes from Perth, joining the current non-stop Dreamliner service to London, but ongoing disputes with Perth Airport have seen those additional flights put on hold.

Speaking with Executive Traveller on the delivery flight of Qantas’ first Boeing 787-9 in October 2017, Joyce said that "for the first time we have daily rights for Paris. Last time we were in Paris we only could do three days a week, which made it sub-economical and meant that we weren’t attracting the business market, but now that has changed."

"Germany is still a big market," Joyce added, "and it's been hard for us in the past when we were flying through a hub, so the opportunity there is actually quite real."

Qantas has chosen the Airbus A350-1000 for its globe-striding flights.
Qantas has chosen the Airbus A350-1000 for its globe-striding flights.

Qantas previously ran daily Boeing 747 flights from Sydney to Frankfurt via Singapore, but axed the loss-making route in 2013 as part of the newly-launched Qantas-Emirates alliance, which put several German cities one hop away from Dubai.

At the time, Joyce confirmed that Qantas' Frankfurt service "has been underperforming for some time, and withdrawal was inevitable (but) the partnership with Emirates will enable it to take place with minimal impact on Qantas customers."

“One of the issues we had with the Frankfurt service beyond Singapore was the age of the aircraft," added Simon Hickey, then-CEO of Qantas International. “They’re getting towards the end of their life, and Frankfurt’s been a struggling route for some time."

However, non-stop flights to Frankfurt on the fuel-efficient Airbus A350-1000 could reshape the route's economics in Qantas' favour.

As previously reported by Executive Traveller, the Project Sunrise fleet will carry around 300 passengers in all-new first class suites and business class seats, along with premium economy and economy, the latter of which will also have extra leg-room compared to today's economy seats.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 95

Depending on Brexit, Frankfurt might be the new European hub of finance. This might be an opportunity for Qantas to get ahead of the markets requirements...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 450

Seems to be a lot of potential routes for “up to” 12 aircraft.

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 119

12 aricraft means 5x daily flights given sparring.

Geoffrey Thomas is quoted today in The West saying the Perth flight will switch to the A350 which effectively means a daily London and NYC from Melbourne and Sydney is all they can do with 12 aricraft.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1028

They do more than that with 12 A380s!!!

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 119

With their A380s

Daily - Dallas; London (Via Singapore); up to 3x to LA

With the left over capacity for Melbourne Singapore daily and Syd - Hong Kong.

Note these routes are shorter too.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

A direct comparison between the current A380 ops and the potential A350 is not a like for like... the A380's spend a lot of time on the ground in LHR and LAX due to time zone and slot reasons. Nor do I think QF will do more than one daily flight into JFK... one reason is the availability of slots there.

So:

SYD & MEL - LHR (4 planes)

SYD or MEL - JFK (2 planes)

SYD or MEL - CDG (2 planes)

SYD or MEL - FRA (2 planes)

I don't see PER-LHR swapping to an A350 as I don't think QF will want to go with an F class out of Perth and there isn't any real need to swap it as the 787 is doing fine.

I do think that QF will want to move BNE-ORD flights to SYD. If they maintain the current 4 x week schedule. Then that is another A350 used, with 1 largely spare.

Of course, this is complete speculation. Even if QF actually orders the planes, if the fuel price increases significantly, then I'd expect to see them be used on non-ultra long haul flights.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1028

It makes sense for an A350 from Perth as it will have an extra 50 seats which experience suggests will be easily filled. The issue is overcapacity and so currently there are slightly more than 700 seats a day Oz to LHR. Two A350s will be close to 600. The A380 is far too much extra: they could put a 787 via Singapore or have a 787 Brisbane via Perth to maintain slightly more than current capacity. This means Brisbane passengers doing a backtrack either to Sydney or via Perth. Just a speculative thought, and assumes Perth Airport can get its act together.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

But will PER need those extra seats if MEL and SYD go direct to London start? I'm not so sure. Particular if that seat mix increases the number of premium seats.

Perth airport is missing out on opportunities with their silly mindset.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1028

I was having Melb London via Perth.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

Isnt the point of project sunrise to do non-stop flights from Syd and melb. Why go via Perth? And why get a specifically modified plane to do a route that is possible now.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1028

Hutch as QANTAS has has said it will be used for all sorts of long distance flights as it sits between the A380 and the 787. Going via Perth adds another 50 seats to an already full plane. The other option is to shift the Melbourne Perth 787 leg to a Brisbane Perth leg with the 787 and have Melbourne London direct: the question they would look at is whether it will fill 300 seats/day from Melboure. If LHR via Singapore is dropped then it may, but that will be the question.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

My understanding is QF is purchasing these planes to fly ultra long haul routes. Sure they want the flexibility to fly them on other routes, but seems a waste to use on Perth to London when that flight will lose some of its daily feed and could be flown with a current QF plane or other plane models within existing capability. If QF can't substantially fill most of the 300 seats between Melbourne and London then they may as well call project sunrise off now

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

Is this the same geoffrey thomas who last week wrote that project sunrise is doomed? Now this week he is telling us what planes will fly where once it starts.

I don't think he actually knows.

04 May 2015

Total posts 263

He wants it to be doomed so that Perth gets more flights instead...

11 Dec 2015

Total posts 88

I would have imagined that the PER-LHR service will have a little less demand once people from MEL and SYD can fly direct. My bet is that they'll stick with the 787 which seems to be doing a great job.

I'm missing the connection where Qantas can fly all these knew routes with just 12 A350-1000s.

‘New routes' sorry ABT

QF

02 Oct 2012

Total posts 40

12 aircraft could just be the beginning. The A380s only have another 10 years life in the fleet so will need replacing eventually. Plus one thing the Qantas team are good at is negotiating with airports and unions plus gaining publicity. So part of these route ideas could be aimed at Perth airport plus pilot union negotiations. Joyce has made no secret over the years of his desire to fly to multiple cities in Europe.

04 May 2015

Total posts 263

Still waiting for Qantas to pull the chequebook out and actually buy the planes capable of doing these flights. Anything announced for Project Sunrise until that happens is purely to generate publicity. We might do X, we could do Y, we looked at Z... typical Qantas favouring spin over substance. I'll believe it when they actually buy a plane, rather than just saying which plane they would look to buy if ABC also happen. Snore.

15 Oct 2019

Total posts 9

Here, here, deanr. Joyce baby is all talk about these non-stop flights. He travels in the comfy seats (if there are any on a 787). How would he and his office chums feel after 17 - 22 hours in seat 54E? Somewhat rumpled and cranky, methinks.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1028

Whosaid the 17 hour flights are with us now Dallas to Syd and Perth to London and I do them out of choice as to many others in economy and I maybe rumpled but less cranky because did not have to walk around (and queue) in Singapore or Dubai for two wasted hours.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 61

Yeah and why ever do they talk about these flights as from "Sydney and Melbourne". As if Melbourne will get them.... One to LHR maybe, the rest will be all out of SYD by heavily Sydney centric QF...

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

Yep... Most likely the case

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1028

Melb could be an A350 via Perth or if it's direct Melb LHR, the 787 would move Brisbane Perth London and the A380 via Singapore dropped.

MHG
MHG

21 Apr 2017

Total posts 13

All about the east coast with a spattering of the west. When will Adelaide get a mention?

It has been calculated that the number of people flying on different airlines from Adelaide to LA would fill a 787-9 daily. Talk about the pour cousins being used to subsidise Syd

04 May 2015

Total posts 263

You've answered your own question right there: to fill that plane, you'd need to take all of the passengers flying on every airline, and get them booking a new flight on a new route on perhaps a different airline than they'd usually fly.

From Sydney alone, there are five different airlines with non-stop flights, then you've got others like Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines etc that offer a one-stop connection. To fill the plane with what you've said, you'd need the passengers of 8+ airlines to start booking with just 1. Not going to happen, especially where Qantas prices non-stop higher for convenience, and not everybody simply wants a direct flight.

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 142

Amazing it has taken this long for Frankfurt to be confirmed (to the extent anything Sunrise-related is confirmed!). Paris might offer romance and glamour, but Frankfurt is at least as important as a business destination.

QF

31 Dec 2014

Total posts 5

Lots of Eurocentric / USA noise above; but the really intriguing one for me, in light of LATAM leaving Oneworld; will be what Qantas does with South America (Brazil!)- I.e.; keep Santiago & add Rio and / or Sao Paulo (I'd guess Sao Paulo) OR jettison Santiago altogether one favour of a Brazil strategy?

With the near oligopoly on the AU/NZ to South America economic characteristics in place; I would have thought Brazil would be there for Qantas' taking if so desired... thoughts?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1028

AALF I have no idea what places your acronyms refer to but capetown and rio are certainly in the mix as the map above suggests. It is just where they sit on list of where to and when. My list would be New York ex Sydney, London ex Sydney and Melbourne, then Paris and Frankfurt ex Sydney, then switch joburg to capetown and then rio. This may need more than 12 planes though.

Hi AALF, as we're a mainstream premium travel website (as opposed to a travel industry/travel trade publication), we've replaced the acronyms in your post with real words. As you can see, not everybody can understand these (nor should they be expected to on such a website), so please keep this in mind when commenting in future, especially when hoping to receive a reply. :)

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1028

By the way the Paris and Frankfurt may share a weekly schedule much like 787s to San Francisco and Chicago ex Brisbane. Say four to Paris and three to Frankfurt for a year or two to see how they go.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

23 Apr 2019

Total posts 7

It only takes two planes to service daily flights non-stop to either LHR or JFK, or anywhere.

If they order these 12 planes, QF will probably buy another 15 approx to replace the A380's. These are much smaller than A380's so more will be needed. A fleet of 30 is not out of the question by 2032.

IF people can be sold on the merits of these extremely long flights, at least in First and Business, then there is every chance QF can take market share from the Middle East Three, Singapore, Cathay etc. But for that to happen, hard and soft product will need to lift.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1028

Decatur they may need more than two for each as turnarounds are never that tight. Sydney curfew plus the need to arrive early enough to make connections such as NY to Washington or Boston et al. The same for Sydney or London e.g to Manchester. Your point is taken bu there is ground time sitting around.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 191

well who knows by the mid 20's even alan joyce be a memory as the project sunrise?


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