Key Points:

  • Qantas plans to start retiring its Airbus A380 fleet around 2032, replacing them with A350-1000s.

  • The Australian airline has placed new orders for 24 aircraft, including 12 A350-1000s and 12 Boeing 787s.

  • Qantas has secured additional purchasing rights for future growth, with deliveries set to begin between 2026 and 2027.

Qantas Accelerates Fleet Renewal with New Orders

SYDNEY — Qantas, Australia's flagship carrier, has disclosed plans to phase out its fleet of Airbus A380s by approximately 2032. In place of the superjumbos, the airline intends to introduce new A350-1000s. The announcement coincided with the carrier's annual results published on August 24, revealing an accelerated renewal of its aging aircraft inventory.

The Australian airline has placed substantial orders for new aircraft, including 12 Airbus A350-1000s and an additional 12 Boeing 787s, as part of its extensive fleet upgrade program. The Boeing orders consist of eight 787-10s and four 787-9s, designated to replace its current line-up of A330s. This move follows the finance chief's earlier statement that Qantas would commence its A330 replacement strategy in the latter half of this year.

The latest procurement was made public months ahead of expectations, aligning with a surge in global aircraft orders in the post-pandemic era. Vanessa Hudson, Qantas Finance Chief, acknowledged the growing demand for widebody aircraft among airlines worldwide at the IATA annual general meeting in June. Hudson will take over the role of chief executive in November 2023.

Slated to start taking deliveries from 2026 through 2027, Qantas has also secured additional options to purchase aircraft from Airbus and Boeing over the next decade. These options provide the airline with flexibility for future growth and the gradual phasing out of its refurbished A380s.

This marks the third major aircraft commitment by the Oneworld member in the past two years. In 2021, the Qantas Group, inclusive of its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar, had previously ordered a large number of Airbus narrowbody aircraft, such as the A220 and the long-range A321XLR. Further, the airline confirmed orders for A350-1000s under its ‘Project Sunrise’ initiative, which aims to launch nonstop, ultra-long-haul flights connecting Australia's east coast to New York and London.

Currently, the airline operates 28 A330s, primarily on international routes to Asia. The new orders will revamp this fleet and introduce a new generation of more fuel-efficient aircraft.