Qantas is Finalizing Their 10 Year Domestic Fleet Renewal Program
Qantas is in the final stages of a formal tender process with aircraft and engine manufacturers for the renewal of their domestic narrow-body fleet. The carrier will add over 100 aircraft to their domestic fleet by 2034, replacing Boeing 737-800s and 717s.
On Tuesday (October 5, 2021), Qantas announced that they have entered the final stages of a formal tender process with aircraft and engine manufacturers for the long-term renewal of their domestic narrow-body fleet. The carrier will add over 100 aircraft to their domestic fleet by 2034, replacing the Boeing 737-800s and 717s that currently serve as the backbone of their domestic jet operations. Qantas expects deliveries of the new aircraft to start at the end of 2023, but will maintain substantial flexibility to adjust deliveries based on market conditions. The airline is currently considering Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo Family aircraft, as well as smaller aircraft including Embraer E-Jet E2s and Airbus A220s. Final decisions are expected to be presented to manufacturers by the end of 2021, followed by firm orders in mid-2022.
In Tuesday’s announcement, Qantas Group’s CEO, Alan Joyce, said,
“We’re calling this Project Winton, after the birthplace of Qantas in outback Queensland, because this is a foundational decision for the future of our domestic operations. All of the next-generation aircraft we’re considering have the potential to drive big improvements in trip cost and overall efficiency, and they’re great platforms for delivering a better premium service to our customers. Not only will these aircraft deliver a step change in reducing fuel burn and carbon emissions by up to around 15 percent, we’re talking to each of the manufacturers about how we can accelerate the development and use of sustainable aviation fuels for our domestic flying.
“This is a long-term renewal plan with deliveries and payments spread over 10 years, starting in FY23, but the equally long lead time means we need to make these decisions soon. COVID has had a devastating impact on the aviation industry and there aren’t many airlines around the world in a position to place orders for new aircraft. We still have our own repair work to do, but we know travel demand will rebound quickly and right now we’re in a strong position to secure the best possible deal at very good prices. The aircraft we’re considering have been in service for several years, which gives us the confidence that they’ve gone through rigorous troubleshooting by the time they enter our fleet. They’re new, but they are known quantities.
“Our approach is always to have the right aircraft on the right route, which really means balancing the size of the aircraft with the demand in each market. The mix of aircraft we’re considering means we’ll have more operational flexibility, which for customers translates into more direct routes to smaller regional centres and more choice of flights throughout the day. At the other end of the spectrum, we’ll be picking up where we left off with our direct flights to London and New York as part of Project Sunrise, which we hope will start operating in 2024/25.”
The Qantas Group currently has 109 Airbus A320/32neo Family aircraft on order, which will be used predominantly to renew Jetstar’s existing A320s. The first neo is scheduled to be delivered during H2 2022, with deliveries continuing through the end of the decade. Additionally, Qantas International will receive three additional Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from FY 2023 onwards. The airline’s current narrow-body fleet includes 75 Boeing 737-800s (aged 7-19 years), and 20 Boeing 717s (aged 15-22 years).