Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingsford Smith) has extended until the end of 2020, the deadline for the firming of its tentative selection of twelve A350-1000(ULR)s, equipped with additional fuel tanks, for its Project Sunrise ultra-long-haul operations, Qantas Group Chief Executive Alan Joyce said.

"We have asked Airbus for a delay on the Project Sunrise decision which was due at the end of March. The [delivery] slots were potentially valuable and could be sold to other airlines. We assume it is unlikely now and we asked them to delay that decision until we see a recovery," he said during an investors call.

The airline announced the selection of the A350-1000 in late 2019, choosing it over the B777X Family proffered by Boeing. However, the tentative decision has yet to be converted into an actual order.

Qantas plans to use the aircraft to operate non-stop routes from Sydney Kingsford Smith and Melbourne Tullamarine to destinations such as London Heathrow, Paris CDG, and New York JFK.

Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson added that Qantas was also renegotiating payments due to both manufacturers with no decisions yet taken.

However, Joyce underlined that Qantas was operating under the assumption that demand will return once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. As such, the Australian group was not planning to permanently ground any of its types, and hoped to eventually reactivate all those currently parked. It also intends to take deliveries of three outstanding firm-order B787-9s. However, should any of that prove necessary, Qantas has the flexibility to accelerate the phase-out of its five B747-400(ER)s, all of which are to leave by the end of 2020.