By Jamie Freed and Tim Hepher
SYDNEY (Reuters) -Qantas Airways Ltd will announce on Monday a landmark order for Airbus SE A350-1000 jets capable of non-stop flights from Sydney to London as part of a wider deal with the European planemaker, industry sources told Reuters on Sunday.
The airline, which has touted plans for the world’s longest commercial flights for more than five years, saw its “Project Sunrise” initiative delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but has since said an aircraft order this year would make flights possible by mid-2025.
The expected news comes days after Boeing Co further delayed development of its 777X jetliner which had at one stage been in contention to ease direct flights from Australia’s east coast to London and New York.
An Airbus-owned A350-1000 was flying on Sunday from Toulouse to Perth, tracking service FlightRadar24 showed.
Sydney-based Qantas, which said it would make a significant announcement on Monday about the future of its network, declined to comment. Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Sunday, the West Australian newspaper said, without citing sources, that the Qantas order would include 12 A350s, 20 A321XLRs and 20 A220s as well as purchase rights for 106 more airplanes spread among the different types.
An airBaltic A220 was parked in Sydney on Sunday, FlightRadar24 showed. That destination is not on a normal route for the European carrier. Australia has no A220 operators at present.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney and Tim Hepher in Paris; Editing by William Mallard and Clarence Fernandez)