Qantas closing in on refleeting decision for domestic traffic

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Australian flag carrier said Tuesday (5 October) that it has entered the final stages of a formal tender process with aircraft and engine manufacturers for the long-term renewal of its domestic narrowbody fleet. The programme will see more than 100 new aircraft enter the carrier’s domestic fleet by 2034, replacing the Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 717s that currently form the backbone of its domestic jet operations. The aircraft being considered are the Boeing 737 MAX family and Airbus A320neo family, as well as the smaller Embraer E-Jet E2 family and the Airbus A220. Final decisions on preferred suppliers of aircraft and engines are expected to be made by the end of 2021 followed by firm orders by mid-2022.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who is meeting Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and engine manufacturers at the International Air Transport Association AGM in Boston this week, said determining the jets that would serve Qantas domestic for the next two decades was a key milestone for the group. “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,” Joyce said. “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 per cent, 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.”

Joyce also said the airline wants to have “the right aircraft on the right route and said Qantas would look to resurrect its “Project Sunrise” with direct flights to London and New York sometime in 2024 or 2025.

The Qantas Group has an existing order for 109 Airbus A320/A321 aircraft, which will predominantly be used to renew Jetstar’s exiting fleet of A320 aircraft. The first neo is due to be delivered in the second half of calendar year 2022 with deliveries through to end of the decade. Three additional 787-9 Dreamliners for Qantas International will be delivered from FY23 onwards.

AIRCRAFT BEING EVALUATED

Boeing 737 MAX family

  • Consists of the MAX 7, MAX 8, MAX 9 and MAX 10
  • Seats range from 138 to 204 seats for two-class configurations
  • 6,100km to 7,130km range
  • Reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by 14 per cent compared to the 737-800NG
  • 40 per cent quieter than the 737-800NG
  • CFM International LEAP-1B engines

Airbus A320 family

  • Includes the Airbus A320neo and A321neo
  • A320neo seats – from 150 to 180 for a two-class configuration. 6,300km range
  • A321neo seats – from 180 to 220 for a two-class configuration. 7,400km range
  • The A320neo family offers fuel improvements of 14 per cent from A320ceos
  • 50 per cent quieter than the A320ceos
  • Two engine options-Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1100G and CFM International LEAP-1A

Airbus A220

  • Specifically designed for the 100-150 seat market
  • 25 per cent lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation aircraft, half the noise footprint, and decreased emissions
  • Up to 6,390km range
  • Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1500G engines

Embraer E-Jet E2 family

  • E190-E2 seats up to 114 for a single-class configuration. Range is 5,278km
  • E195-E2 seats up to 146 for a single-class configuration. Range is 4,815km
  • Achieves double digit lower fuel consumption compared to current-generation Embraer jets
  • Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1700G engines

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