The Future Of Qantas’ Fleet

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Qantas, the flag carrier of Australia is one of the world’s leading airlines. But they don’t have a very young fleet when compared to Singapore, British Airways or Qatar. They currently heavily use the Boeing 737-800, the Airbus A330 and the A380, and are only now retiring the 747 for the 787 Dreamliner.

qantas-project-sunrise-2023.
Qantas needs to choose a new fleet lineup. Qantas.

But what will the Qantas fleet look like in the next decade, and have they dropped any clues as to which aircraft they may order next? Let’s investigate.

Watch our video on the topic where we predict the next three Qantas aircraft.

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What is their next big order?

There are three major new fleet choices Qantas needs to make, leaking in a slide at the annual shareholders meeting earlier this year.

The first is their new widebody fleet for Project Sunrise. The second is to replace their old regional fleet And the last choice is what to replace their fleet of 737s with.

Project Sunrise is the name given to the Qantas’ goal to link Sydney and London with a direct route. Qantas has asked both Airbus and Boeing to provide an aircraft up for the task with a choice to be made later this year.

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Airbus has pitched the unmodified A350-1000, whilst Boeing has decided on the long-range Boeing 777-8. Unfortunately, delays to the Boeing 777X program means the 777-8 is two or three years away at the least. Boeing did say that they offered Qantas an excellent deal to go with them.

Lastly, we should mention that Qantas is the only airline that the original Boeing 777 was designed for, who didn’t buy it. It’s, for this reason, we think Qantas will side with Airbus and order the A350-1000

Can you see this aircraft in Qantas livery? We can! Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons 

What about its regional fleet?

The second choice coming up for Qantas is its regional fleet. They currently operate a mix of Dash 8s, Boeing 717s, and Fokker F100s. The oldest aircraft in the fleet are pushing over 25 years old.

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They need to replace these aircraft sooner than later and it looks like a showdown between the new Airbus a220 and the Embraer E2.

Qantas has been shy about which aircraft they like best, but we couldn’t help notice that Airbus flew in an Air Baltic A220 recently for Qantas to check out. Our prediction? That Qantas will order the A220 as part of the bigger A350-1000 order.

Further evidence for this is the recent news published by Australian Aviation. In their report, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce attended the Air Baltic A220 in Sydney and had the following remarks:

“To me, it looks like a very good aircraft. I think the passengers would love it. It feels very quiet, that’s one thing you do notice. Even the toilets are big.”

He went on to mention that he would consider the A220 if Airbus could offer a good price.

The A220-300 used for the Asian launch tour earlier in 2019. Image: Airbus

What is the final order Qantas needs to make?

Now for choice number three: replacing all of its Boeing 737 fleet.

It would have been a slam dunk for Boeing if not for the 737 MAX disaster which has so far grounded the type for over six months. Qantas is in no rush to make a choice for this aircraft and considering the alternative is the delayed A320, they might yet look at Boeing.

After all, Qantas’ rival Virgin Australia has 48 737 MAX aircraft on order (which it was deferred due to financial reasons, although the timing is a little suspect). Qantas did recently order the Airbus A321XLR at the Paris Air Show so perhaps they are looking to see how the A320neo performs.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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