Airbus is preparing to launch an ultra-long range version of its A350-1000 jet for Qantas’ Sunrise project to fly non-stop from Australia to London, New York, Paris, Capetown and Rio de Janeiro.
Alan Joyce, the Qantas CEO, challenged both Airbus and Boeing to develop an aircraft capable of flying 21-hours non-stop, and Airbus took the challenge and said “We know what we can do with the -900 because that’s what is done today with Singapore Airlines, and we also look at what we could do with the -1000.”
The A350-1000ULR will be fitted with additional centre fuel tank to carry extra fuel, with increased payload capabilities. The intended range will be up to 10,600 miles.
Airbus A350-1000ULR is pitted against Boeing’s 777X which is undergoing ground testing.
Airbus is considering to include bunk beds, inflight lounges and even an exercise space in the cargo hold, using custom-designed ‘lower deck modules’.
Airbus partnered with Safran to develop “lower deck modules” with air supply adaptation, that can be installed or removed during lay overs. They can be loaded like cargo containers with plug based for electrical supply.