Why did Qantas choose Airbus’ A350-1000 for project Sunrise?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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December 19, 2019, © Leeham News: Qantas Airways declared the Airbus A350-1000 the winner for its project Sunrise last week. After two years of competition with Boeing’s 777-8, it was the preferred aircraft for what many say is the holy grail of airline routes, the Sydney-London route.

Many speculate it's the delay in the availability of the 777-8 that was the deciding factor. We use our airliner performance model to check if this is true or if there are other factors that turned the A350-1000 the favorite.

A350-1000 chosen for project Sunrise. Source: Qantas.


  • The A350-1000 is a stretch from the A350-900 while the 777-8 is a shrink from the larger 777-9.
  • A derivative based on a stretch is often more efficient than one based on a shrink.
  • When Airbus adjusts the Maximum Take-Off Weight and fuel capacity of the A350-1000, it can fly the routes Qantas asks for.

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