SYDNEY- The Qantas (QF) Group has unveiled the final component of its aircraft fleet modernization initiative by confirming a firm order for 24 Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 that will gradually replace its current A330 fleet.
This substantial order, amounting to billions of dollars, is divided equally between 12 Airbus A350s and 12 Boeing 787s.
Qantas A350 787 Orders
These aircraft are slated to join the fleet from the fiscal year 2027, extending into the subsequent decade. Moreover, the Qantas Group has secured additional purchase options, evenly distributed between Airbus and Boeing.
This strategic move offers flexibility for potential future expansion and positions the Group to transition from its existing 10 Airbus A380s to A350s, anticipated to commence around fiscal year 2032.
The extended range capabilities of the upcoming Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft will enable them to cover the entirety of Qantas’ present international network routes, as well as introduce novel routes.
At the initiation of the replacement program in fiscal year 2027, the average age of Qantas’ A330 fleet will be around 21 years, aligning with the Group’s established pattern of fleet replacement.
Aircraft that are set to exit the Qantas fleet towards the conclusion of the replacement initiative will undergo a cabin renovation starting from fiscal year 2025, which includes the incorporation of next-generation seats in the Economy class section.
Dubbed ‘Project Fysh’, Qantas has named its international fleet modernization effort as a tribute to Sir Hudson Fysh. Sir Fysh was instrumental in co-founding the airline and served as its Managing Director during its commencement of international operations in 1935.
Under the agreements forged with both Airbus and Boeing, Qantas is set to secure the rights to procure up to 500 million liters of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) annually, with anticipated commencement of supply by 2028.
This arrangement has the potential to satisfy a substantial portion, up to 90 percent, of the Group’s interim SAF objective for the year 2030.
Serving as a direct eco-friendly substitute for conventional jet kerosene, SAF boasts the capability to diminish carbon emissions over its lifecycle by approximately 80 percent, forming an integral component of Qantas’ strategy to mitigate emissions.
The procurement of these fuel supplies will be facilitated through collaborative initiatives with Boeing and Airbus, including projects focused on SAF development within the United States.
Qantas is poised to benefit from advantageous pricing for the SAF, largely attributed to supportive governmental policies in the United States.
Although these agreements effectively support the Group’s near-term objectives, establishing an Australian SAF industry remains a crucial endeavor in order to align with the broader industry commitment of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
To bolster the creation of a domestic SAF sector within Australia, Qantas previously introduced a climate fund amounting to $400 million.
This fund is designated for investments in similar ventures within the country, with the aim of catalyzing the development of a sustainable aviation fuel industry at the local level.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce expressed, “This signifies yet another multi-billion dollar investment in our national airline, and it brings great news for both our valued customers and dedicated staff.”
“This is in addition to the 149 confirmed aircraft orders that remain in place, aimed at renewing the domestic fleets of both Qantas and Jetstar. These aircraft are pivotal for our ongoing endeavors, encompassing the non-stop Project Sunrise routes connecting London and New York.
The 787 and A350 aircraft, along with the GE and Rolls Royce engines they are equipped with, have demonstrated their reliability and exceptional capabilities.
Emphasizing the importance of these decisions for the company’s future, Joyce emphasized,
“These choices are pivotal for the company’s long-term outlook. Over the course of the next decade or more, these aircraft will join our fleet and serve us for approximately two decades. They will enable the introduction of new routes, elevate travel experiences for our passengers, and bring forth new opportunities and advancements for our workforce.”
CEO designate Vanessa Hudson provided additional insights, stating,
“Our negotiations were initiated in the wake of our successful campaigns for narrowbody and Sunrise aircraft. The momentum generated during those efforts contributed to securing favorable pricing and delivery slots, rendering this an exceptional opportunity for the Group.”
The financial feasibility of acquiring these aircraft is a result of our sustained efforts to restructure and strengthen our financial foundation, underpinned by our confidence in the future. Our fleet plan is inherently adaptable, allowing us to adjust the pace of deliveries or potentially expedite them, all contingent on the broader market conditions.
The staged ordering of these aircraft permits us to align them within our debt range and fund them through earnings, in line with our established financial framework.”
Hudson highlighted the strategic significance, noting,
“This agreement bestows upon the Qantas Group access to a consistent supply of sustainable aviation fuel from the United States, solidifying our position as one of the pioneering airlines globally that has a viable pathway to achieving our ambitious SAF targets by the year 2030.”
Qantas A350 and Boeing 787 Order Breakdown
Qantas Group’s aircraft order encompasses a comprehensive plan:
- It includes a firm order for a total of twelve Airbus A350-1000s, with scheduled deliveries commencing in FY28.
- Additionally, the order involves a firm commitment for four Boeing 787-9 and eight 787-10 aircraft, set to be delivered starting from FY27.
- To facilitate fleet renewal and accommodate growth, purchase right options are allocated to both Airbus and Boeing.
- Notably, these orders incorporate substantial flexibility, allowing adjustments to be made in the timing of aircraft deliveries.
Characteristics of the Aircraft
Boeing 787-9 and 787-10:
- Qantas’ forthcoming Boeing 787-9, with a length of approximately 62.8 meters, closely resembles the A330s it will replace. Meanwhile, the 787-10 boasts a length of about 68.3 meters, offering an extension of around five meters.
- The power behind both 787 models will come from General Electric GEnx engines.
- Remarkably, the noise signature of the 787 is notably smaller, by 60 percent, in comparison to previous-generation aircraft.
- With an emphasis on efficiency, the 787-9 demonstrates a 20 percent enhancement in fuel efficiency, while the 787-10 elevates this advantage to approximately 25 percent when compared to earlier generation aircraft.
- Qantas’ chosen Airbus A350-1000 stands at an impressive length of 72.25 meters, marking an increase of 8.5 meters compared to the A330s that they will replace. Remarkably, the A350-1000 shares the same length as the A380.
- The upcoming A350-1000 aircraft will be propelled by Rolls Royce Trent XWB-97 engines.
- An innovative feature of the A350 is its significant reduction in noise emissions, achieving a reduction of 50 percent when contrasted with prior generation aircraft.
- An outstanding environmental achievement, the A350 showcases a 25 percent advantage in fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions, setting a new standard when compared to earlier generation aircraft.
Qantas Fleet Renewal Strategy
Qantas Group’s strategic fleet renewal initiatives are progressing as follows:
- The initial pair of QantasLink A220 aircraft are anticipated to be delivered by the close of this current year. Subsequent deliveries might experience delays up to four months due to supply chain disruptions.
- To accommodate the expanding resources operations and Jetstar Asia’s recovery, the first of seven mid-life A320 family aircraft is projected to join the fleet before the conclusion of December 2023.
- The integration of twenty-two E190s, previously announced and wet-leased from Alliance Airlines, into the Qantas fleet, is on schedule and expected to be completed by the close of December 2023.
- Two additional A321 converted freighters are foreseen to become part of the Qantas fleet by the end of December 2023.
- Jetstar’s ambitions for its Airbus A321LRs are well underway. Eighteen of these aircraft are slated to be inducted into the fleet by the culmination of the calendar year 2024. Moreover, an additional batch of twenty A321LRs and A321XLRs are set to be delivered by the conclusion of calendar year 2029.
- The commencement of Qantas’ ambitious Project Sunrise is marked by the anticipated arrival of the first Airbus A350-1000 ULRs in FY26. This project aims to pioneer ultra-long-haul travel experiences.
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