Qantas plans a Project Sunrise surprise with A350 business class

Qantas plans a Project Sunrise surprise with A350 business class

While Qantas revealed with a swing its new Airbus 350 first class – and the luxurious private suites are very much a ‘halo’ product – the airline has yet to draw the curtain on its plans for the A350 business class.

However, it is those 52 business class seats that most of the premium passengers sit on ‘Project Sunrise’ flights will spend the 18-20 hours flying non-stop from Sydney and Melbourne to New York, London and Paris from the end of 2025.

And the A350s aren’t just for those ambitious record-breaking marathons.

Qantas has already confirmed that the A350 will take over from the Boeing 787-9 on the Perth-London route in 2026and it’s likely that a second tranche of A350 orders will see these modern jets effectively replace the double-decker Airbus A380s when those superjumbos retire around the end of this decade.

They’re also likely to inherit other flagship routes from the Boeing 787: While the A350s have nearly an identical number of seats, far more of these are allocated to the more expensive premium cabins (first, business, and premium economy) than on the Dreamliner.

In short, the Airbus 350 represents the next generation of Qantas’ international business class.

So despite the current veil of secrecy, what do we know about the Qantas A350 business class so far?

Qantas’ A350 Business Class Directions

Two diagrams shared by Qantas provide different clues to those who look closely.

First, the cut-away diagram of the Qantas A350 delivered to the media earlier this month, which exposes the interior from head to toe, while also evoking the premium suites and the “well-being zone” between premium economy and economy.

Also in the mix is ​​the business class cabin, and it’s immediately apparent that the layout is different from the first-generation Business Suite featured on the Airbus A330 fined in 2014 and later for the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A380

Admittedly, this is, as the diagram footnote confirms, an ‘artist impression, subject to change’ – but let’s zoom in for a closer look.

While the window seats will still alternate between directly next to the window or next to the aisle, the center seats are either directly next to each other in the center of the two-seat module – or are far apart, with each passenger in the opposite aisles.

In industry parlance, this arrangement is cutely referred to as a “honeymoon/divorce” layout – and it’s notable because the Qantas Business Suites have their middle seats in an entirely different layout (which isn’t a honeymoon or divorce: maybe “just good friends”?) .

So the Qantas A350 business class seat is clear: not the same Vantage XL model from Thompson Aerospace as used for the airline’s current Business Suite, and Executive traveler understands that Thompson Aerospace is not a seat supplier to Project Sunrise.

Instead, the Qantas A350 business class seat could come from any number of other specialist firms – such as Adient, Collins, Recaro, Safran or Stelia – and we wouldn’t be surprised in the least if this is a new concept chair yet to come. to be made. officially launched (although that could change if the seat breaks the cover in the coming months).

A second observation from the cut-away diagram: Note that the business class seats directly on the aisle have a sliding door or some form of ‘screen’ to provide more privacy from the traffic in the aisle and the passenger directly opposite. them.

None of the business class seats positioned further from the aisle — in the center section or right next to the window — show this screen in place.

This treatment is repeated in this first Qantas A350 seat map. Again, here’s the full tip-to-tail image…

…and here’s a close-up of the business class cabin. Notice how each seat is located next to the aisle some form of door, screen or panel has been extended to help passengers maintain their privacy?

That’s not the case with any of the Qantas A350 business class seats that have been fitted away off the aisle. Go on, take another closer look.

Does this mean that only the aisle seats have those suite-style doors? If so, it’s a decidedly unique take on the trend for suites with doors, and it would be a ‘first’ in business class design.

Returning to the Qantas A350 cutaway, all business class seats seem to be framed by high walls – another measure to provide a greater degree of privacy and help turn these suites into cozy cocoons for the world trip.

Again, this is just an ‘artist impression, subject to change’ – and the premium suites perched in front of the business class cabin certainly have the same generic feel.

Qantas predictably declined to comment on this, and Executive traveler will share more details about Qantas’ Project Sunrise A350 business class as they come in.

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