Based on the information available, the 778 likely best meets the Project Sunrise requirements, but at the end of the day we will wait and see.
It may see a 777-8 and a 777-9 as a good mix to open up longer haul routes, with some of the larger variant to replace A380’s in the next decade or so.
In saying that though, I do like the idea of the A350-900ULR and A350-1000 mix.
And considering an A380 will be sitting idle in BNE for 14-15 hours once the tag is dropped soon, surely it’s also not the best use of the whale for EK? I’m a supporter of EK retiming EK435 to a morning departure back to DXB, say roughly 9am, but we’ve not seen anything for this yet - it saves the lengthy downtime, and allows the new EK431 to capture more potential pax and maybe ultimately be upgauged from the current 77L/77W mix to a consistent 77W and ultimately an A380, if demand keeps increasing for EK.
A 9am departure ex BNE would not be practical as it would miss the afternoon bank in DXB. If EK were to retime the flight I would imagine it would be something similar to the flights to PER, SYD and MEL, that is a late evening/midnight arrival and an early morning departure 530-6am
Those banks are already served by EK432/433, but the stop in SIN and the resulting longer journey time means that it is an 00:35 arrival and 02:35 departure.
If they were to retime I’d expect it to be like the new SYD schedule, with a 16:00 departure to mirror QF1. As it is, I think leaving the plane on the ground all day and then having two evening departures is likely how it will stay for the time been as those flight are always the most popular and thus most expensive. The yields probably justify the cost of parking the plane.
With regards to lower demand on the back on the AKL termination, if we were talking about cuts in May and October I would agree. But June-August, and especially the July school holidays, is peak time for Australian outbound tourism to Europe. For them to cut back at that time of year makes me think that it has more to do with increasing capacity in other markets during the Northern Summer than anything specific to Brisbane. If the 77W becomes permanent on EK434/435 then I will gladly take it back.
From what I can tell, EK currently has more than enough A380 and 77W aircraft available, but the 77L is the one that is in limited supply at that airline.
The reality is that with an additional daily flight these days, this is not exactly a surprise that an airline will try and maximise yields where it can. It’s about finding the right balance.