Qantas has been a rather loyal Boeing customer in the past but over the years the carrier has moved more and more towards Airbus with another large order placed this week, including a firm commitment for 40 aircraft and purchase options for 94 additional planes.
The carrier plans to purchase about 130 A320 and A220 aircraft over the coming 10 years. transforming the Qantas domestic fleet which right now includes many Boeing 737 and 717 jets that will be phased out in favor of the new Airbus models.
Currently, Qantas also operates Airbus A330 and A380 jets as well as Boeing 787 jets, the latter (as a widebody) not being affected by the new A320/A220 order.
It’s not that Qantas never bought Airbus planes before, they absolutely did including the A330 workhorses and the A380 Superjumbo as mentioned but this is putting the focus more on the European manufacturer than ever before.
For decades the backbone of Qantas was the B747, B767 and for domestic use the 737 and 717 jets. Interestingly enough, Qantas never ordered any B777 aircraft.
Yesterday the carrier published a press release outlining the new Airbus order.
Qantas has selected the Airbus A320neo and Airbus A220 families as the preferred aircraft for the long-term renewal of its domestic narrow-body fleet.
A firm commitment for 40 aircraft – 20 A321XLR (extra long-range) and 20 A220 aircraft – is expected to be placed with Airbus by the end of FY22, following discussions with employees about arrangements to operate the new aircraft types and a final decision by the Qantas Board.
Qantas will also have a further 94 purchase right options on aircraft over a 10-plus year delivery window as its existing Boeing 737-800s and 717s are gradually phased out.
The order is in addition to Jetstar’s existing agreement with Airbus for over 100 aircraft in the A320neo family. Part of this new deal includes combining these two orders so that the Group can draw down on a total of 299 deliveries across both the A320 and A220 families as needed over the next decade and beyond for Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar.
Once finalised, this will represent the largest aircraft order in Australian aviation history.
Financial details of the deal are commercial in confidence but represent a material discount from list prices.
Today’s announcement follows a detailed review by the airline’s engineering, flight operations, customer experience, network, fleet procurement and finance teams. The airline conducted detailed evaluation of the A320neo and B737 MAX families as well as the smaller A220 and Embraer E190/195-E2s. …
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline had called the renewal of its domestic fleet Project Winton after the town where the national carrier was born 101 years ago, because it’s a key strategic decision for the future of Qantas Domestic.
“This is a long-term renewal plan with deliveries and payments spread over the next decade and beyond, but the similarly long lead time for aircraft orders means we need to make these decisions now.
“Qantas is in a position to make these commitments because of the way we’ve navigated through the pandemic, which is a credit to the whole organization.
“This is a clear sign of our confidence in the future and we’ve locked in pricing just ahead of what’s likely to be a big uptick in demand for next-generation narrow-body aircraft. That’s good news for our customers, our people and our shareholders. …
It was clear that Qantas needed new aircraft for their domestic fleet as the planes are getting really old. The only question was which models and manufacturer Qantas would go for. I wouldn’t have bet on Airbus being the final choice, to be honest, but sometimes there are big surprises in the world of aviation.
It’s pretty telling that even the press release mentions the discount off the official list prices. While not telling actual numbers one can just imagine that the rebates Airbus offered were significant enough so that Boeing was unable to compete.
Qantas has placed a large order with Airbus, ordering 40 jets firm while holding an option for 94 more over the coming decade. The fleet renewal project will see the age of aircraft go down and change the face of the QF fleet to be almost exclusively Airbus.
Eventually, the 11 Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be the only Boeing planes remaining unless Qantas orders further Boeing models in the future.