The international crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic has stroke also one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the aviation industry.
Qantas, in a media statement, has communicated that ‘Project Sunrise‘ is, for the moment, suspended due to the reduced demand for international travels.
“The time is not right now given the impact that Covid-19 has had on world travel. We certainly won’t be ordering aircraft for that this year.”Mr Alan Joyce, Qantas’s CEO, on Project Sunrise
Consequently, Qantas will not order any new Airbus A350-1000 specifically modified for this kind of hauls.
This choice is not having consequences only on the Australian carrier, which has cancelled all the international hauls until the end of July, but also on Airbus itself, considering the financial its financial difficulties.
International fleet plans
‘Project Sunrise‘, however, is not the only thing Qantas is working on.
Qantas’s international fleet, as stated by its CEO Alan Joyce, is currently under review, and the first thing that comes to mind is the retirement of the Boeing 747-400 type which was planned by the end of the year.
Considering the lack of demand which is something that all the airlines must deal with during these days, it’s likely that the ‘Queen of the skies‘ won’t take-off again with the Australian airlines’ colors, even though in case of necessity, the 747s would be ready to fly until the end of the year, when they will be, certainly, retired.
The other super-heavy jet type in the fleet, the A380, will also deal with some issues regarding the refurbishment program initiated by Qantas.
The program is actually suspended, and there’s the possibility that not all the twelve A380s in Qantas’s fleet will be active again after the emergency.
The choice to leave some A380s on the ground isn’t surprising considering the aviation industry nowadays, but it is if we consider how much money the Australians were investing in the refurbishment program to ensure many years more of flight to their biggest aircrafts.
The only type that isn’t in danger is, unsurprisingly, the Boeing 787.
The first international hauls that Qantas is likely to fly after the pandemic are to and from New Zealand, that should feature the only few destinations able to regain demand almost immediately.
To restore the competitiveness of the Australian market, the low fares airline owned by the Qantas Group, Jetstar, will start selling tickets for $19 on the Melbourne to Sidney route.
Qantas ensured that, despite the cheap price, the airline will still able to generate profit out of these flights, stimulating a rise in demand.
The offer doesn’t come in a casual time, because Qantas’s biggest competitor in the internal hauls, Virgin Australia, is currently under administration looking for new owners after the interruption of flight operations, basically leaving the whole offer for national connections in Qantas Group’s hands.
Thanks to Simple Flying