City’s aviation expert, Linus Bauer, comments on the 2025 launch of ultra long-haul flights from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York.
By Linus Bauer, Visiting Lecturer, City Aviation Management Programmes
Recent confirmation by Australian airline Qantas to go for ‘the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance’, by launching non-stop flights from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York, is a welcome development for the global aviation industry.
The 18 to 20-hour flights take wing from late 2025 aboard Airbus A350 jets sporting all-new seats, suites and wellness zones. As a relatively novel phenomenon floated just prior to the pandemic, the Project Sunrise initiative has turned into an increasingly attractive business proposition in the post-pandemic world, accelerated by various factors including the changing airline landscape, the enhanced capabilities of modern aircraft (fuel efficiency and range) and rapidly changing customer behaviour.
First-ever academic study
With a heavy premium seat configuration (over 40%) as one of the essential preconditions to succeed on cost-intensive routes, Qantas has clearly positioned itself in the premium market. The fundamental objective of ultra long-haul operators like Qantas is to pitch a better bid for customer share, by offering perceptibly more customer value to a set of targeted customer segments.
I produced the first-ever academic study of a revenue-cost model specifically designed for the cost-intensive ultra long-haul operations (route simulation tool) between 2018 and 2019.
In January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the aviation industry to a standstill, I presented this extensive research project before a large and diverse audience at British Airways' HQ in London - organized by the Royal Aeronautical Society and sponsored by Boeing. Ironically, this was a month before Qantas was set to finalise its A350 aircraft order in February 2020 and barely weeks before the pandemic struck. Qantas was forced to halt the roll out of Project Sunrise.
For further information on Linus Bauer’s research project, revenue-cost model or additional publications (as published in the Journal of Air Transport Management, among others), please get in touch with him.