A Look At The Incredible Growth Of Qantas

With the news that Qantas is looking to fully take over Alliance Airlines, one becomes aware of the incredibly rapid growth of the Australian carrier. From opening new Jetstar franchises to challenging aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing, is there any limit to the plucky company from Central Queensland?

Sunshine Coast Airport plans for next 20 years
Qantas and Jetstar aircraft together in Queensland. Photo: Jetstar Airways

Let’s have a look at the different avenues of growth that Qantas is exploring…

Mining contracts

Qantas has begun to collect mining charter companies, starting with Network Airlines and the forthcoming acquisition of Alliance Airlines (if it is approved by the ACCC). These companies hold lucrative mining contracts that provide fly-in-fly-out services for mine sites.

With more of these contracts under their control, Qantas will quickly become the go-to company in this industry, and may one day have a monopoly on the market.

Project Sunrise

Qantas has asked Boeing and Airbus to create an aircraft that can fly between Sydney and London. A decision has not yet been made on who gets the contract, but it hasn’t stopped the rumors from flying.

Qantas knows that passengers are happy to pay a premium to fly direct from Australia to Europe, as their Perth to London route achieved a 94% load factor. This means that a direct Melbourne to London or direct Sydney to New York service could be incredibly profitable.

Replacing their regional fleet

Qantas is also looking at replacing their regional fleet of aging aircraft (some over 30 years old!) with the latest Airbus A220 or Embraer E2.

Qantas’ plan for new aircraft over the next decade. Source: Qantas

Both are under consideration for the airline and could herald in a new age of regional transport in Australia.

Retiring the 747 and A380

In a bold move, Qantas has announced plans to retire the Boeing 747 in the next 18 months and the A380 in the next 10 years. The Boeing 747s are due to be replaced by 787 Dreamliners.

Qantas A380
What will replace the Qantas A380? Photo: Qantas

Qantas actually had options for more A380s, but let them slip after the aircraft was revealed to be not as profitable as hoped. Passenger too showed a preference for smaller but more frequent services.

Will Qantas use the 797?

Qantas has also got a choice to make between the Boeing 797 or the Airbus A321XLR, both of which would be perfect for the Sydney to Melbourne route.

The Australian airline is being a little cautious on this, as neither of these aircraft actually exist yet. Qantas wants to see how well they will perform in local conditions.

How big can Jetstar grow?

Jetstar has grown from a small domestic low-cost-carrier (to compete with Virgin) into a powerhouse with four separate airlines around the world – Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam), Jetstar Asia (Indonesia), Jetstar Japan (Japan) and the original Jetstar.

This network has opened up access across the region and allowed Qantas to slowly infiltrate local markets.

Dual Engine Failure
A Jetstar Boeing 787. Photo: Jetstar

“You’ve got to be very careful in Asia because you can lose a lot of money if you get it wrong. Jetstar is already in 16, soon to be 17 countries. Our strategy was never to be in every country. We keep our ears to the ground but it would have to be the right market, the right partner. Currently, we have no plans for additional Jetstar franchises,” Gareth Evans, Jetstar Group CEO, said to CH Aviation.

What do you think of the growth of Qantas? Did we miss any major expansion moves?