25 NOVEMBER 2019


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Article from BTNews 25 NOVEMBER 2019

Sunrise aircraft deal in doubt

A pledge by Qantas to announce by the end of 2019 which aircraft it would choose to operate its Project Sunrise non-stop flights from London and New York to Sydney was in doubt last week after the airline rejected first offers from Boeing and Airbus.

Reports in Australian media said Qantas was asking the manufacturers for a better price and more comprehensive guarantees and conditions for the possible contenders, the Boeing B777X and Airbus A350-1000.

News of the impasse came after the Sydney Morning Herald said Qantas International chief executive Tino La Spina told an investors’ meeting there was “a gap” between what the airline wants to pay and what the manufacturers expect.

“We’ve asked them (Airbus and Boeing) to go back and re-look at that, to sharpen their pencils, because there still was a gap there,” La Spina was reported as saying.

Despite the successful Project Sunrise test flights (BTN last week), the programme could still be postponed or even abandoned if the problem cannot be ironed out.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has said although a final decision is expected by the end of December, it is not a foregone conclusion: “There’s plenty of enthusiasm, but it’s ultimately a business decision and the economics have to stack up” (BTN 14 October).


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