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Qantas Inks Pay Deal with Pilots for ‘Project Sunrise’ Flights

A Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner pulling into the gate at JFK. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Shaquille Khan)

The much-publicized ultra-long-haul flight that involves routes from Sydney and Melbourne to London, Paris and New York dubbed as ‘Project Sunrise’ is a done deal as Australian International Pilots Association (AIPA) have reportedly agreed with the new pay deal with Qantas according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

AirlineGeeks in February reported locked horns between Qantas and AIPA over a suitable wage agreement deal, with Qantas ready with a “fallback plan” on the table, suggesting it would have to look for a new workforce to operate the much anticipated non-stop flights expected to launch in 2023.

“We will be left with no viable alternative but to have Sunrise flying performed by a new employment entity that can provide the cost base we need for this important business opportunity,” said by Qantas International Chief Executive Tino La Spina in an email to AIPA.

AIPA president Mark Sedgwick retaliated by stating, “such unnecessary threats Would unfortunately precipitate a new low in employee engagement at Qantas.”

Qantas now reports 85 percent of pilots voted in favor of the new wage agreement and working conditions for the 20-hour flight which marks the end of the dispute between Qantas and its pilot group.

With the looming coronavirus pandemic now at hand disrupting travel in almost all corners of the globe, Qantas may have surpassed its March deadline of putting in its multi-billion-dollar firm order of 12 Airbus A350-1000 jet airliners, with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce stating that Airbus had given an extension period in which Qantas could still order its new A350s.

The uncertainty caused by the pandemic has recently put the ambitious project on hold despite successful backing of the project by AIPA having halted all its international flights and likely retiring the costly Boeing 747 in response to reducing its financial costs caused by the crisis.

Victor Shalton


  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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