Key Points:

  • Boeing is on the brink of sealing a deal with Qantas Airways for its 787-10 Dreamliner variant.

  • Qantas’s potential acquisition of the 787-10, a rival to the Airbus A330, would be its inaugural order for this model.

  • Despite the impending announcement, insider sources note that such negotiations are always down-to-the-wire, pending final board endorsement.

Boeing's 787-10 model under consideration to replace Qantas' A330 jets

SYDNEY —Industry insiders have indicated that Boeing is on the cusp of finalizing an order for its 787 Dreamliner jets with Australia's Qantas Airways. While the precise number of 787-10s remains unspecified, the deal further solidifies the Dreamliner's prominent standing within Australia's national airline. Notably, the announcement of this acquisition might be made public within the current month.

Although the ink is nearly dry, it’s worth noting that such high-stakes negotiations are invariably a nail-biter, with decisions being set in stone only post the endorsement of the airline’s board. The deal in question would mark Qantas's maiden purchase of the 787-10 model. This aircraft, a lengthened derivative of the 787-9, boasts a shorter range, positioning it as a direct contender against the Airbus A330.

Earlier this year, Qantas's incoming CEO, Vanessa Hudson, dropped hints about the airline’s plans. In June, Hudson unveiled intentions to initiate a contest aimed at supplanting their existing fleet of A330 jets by the year's end. However, both Boeing and Airbus have opted to remain tight-lipped, choosing not to comment on the brewing deal.

Qantas has traditionally been a pivotal player in the aviation marketplace. Their 2005 choice to invest in a more compact version of Boeing's 787 led Airbus to recalibrate its wide-body aircraft strategy. The Australian flag carrier's purchasing decisions carry considerable weight, marking them as one of the globe's foremost aircraft procurers.

Revisiting Qantas's previous acquisitions reveals a fascinating trajectory. In 2022, they made waves by placing an unprecedented order for twelve A350-1000s, Airbus's most sizable European widebody jets. These aircraft, capable of uninterrupted flights from Sydney to major global cities like London and New York, were procured as part of the airline's ambitious "Project Sunrise" ultra-long-haul venture. 

Insiders posit that the imminent Dreamliner acquisition tilts the balance back towards Boeing, especially considering the 787's latest model. To recap, the last time Qantas expanded its Dreamliner fleet was in 2018, with an order for six aircraft meant to supersede its existing Boeing 747s. The airline's current lineup includes 14 787-9s.