Key Points:

  • The new fleets are expected to operate for around 20 years, with CEO Alan Joyce emphasizing their importance in defining future strategies.

  • CEO designate Vanessa Hudson highlights the financial flexibility and strategic insights that underpin the aircraft orders.

  • A major facet of the deal offers Qantas Group sustainable aviation fuel supplies from the U.S., steering towards their 2030 SAF targets.

CEO Alan Joyce celebrates the new aircraft investment

SYDNEY — Australian flag carrier Qantas has unveiled plans to modernize its fleet by purchasing 12 new 787 Dreamliners and 12 Airbus A350s, targeting the replacement of the majority of its older A330 models.

The purchase includes four Boeing 787-9 and eight 787-10 aircraft, complemented by 12 traditional A350-1000s. This decision significantly expands upon the previously disclosed Project Winton and Sunrise orders. “The 787, A350, and the GE and Rolls Royce engines in them are proven and highly efficient,” CEO Alan Joyce noted. Emphasizing the long-term vision, he added, “These generational decisions will see these aircraft joining the fleet over the coming decade and serving for about 20 years.”

This order comes shortly after international news agency Reuters initially reported the Dreamliner order. There were past concerns regarding Qantas’s insufficient aircraft to accommodate international routes. However, with this order, Qantas is aiming to launch new routes and amplify its global flight capacity. Notably, discussions with Air France regarding a direct route between Perth and France, among other European destinations, are currently underway.

Alan Joyce, the departing CEO, remarks this acquisition as probably the final major aircraft order he will oversee during his tenure. Celebrating the move, he commented on the potential opportunities these planes would unlock, stating, “They’ll offer enhanced travel experiences for our passengers and open up new career growth avenues for our staff.”

However, it's not just about enhancing the fleet. Vanessa Hudson, CEO designate, expressed optimism over the purchase conditions and emphasized the company's preparedness. “This acquisition is backed by years of structural reforms, a robust balance sheet, and our positive outlook for the future. Our procurement strategy is flexible, allowing us to modify delivery timelines based on market dynamics,” she explained. Hudson also highlighted that the new deal ensures Qantas's access to sustainable aviation fuels from the U.S., positioning them at the forefront of global airlines targeting 2030 SAF objectives.

Yet, challenges persist. Qantas's pilots' union expressed concerns over the fleet’s previous delivery pace not meeting the rising demand. The decision to allow Finnair crews to manage Qantas's flights to specific destinations was met with considerable disappointment. Captain Tony Lucas of The Australian and International Pilots Association called it a “sad day” for Qantas, mentioning the increased costs and a dilution of the Qantas experience for passengers.

Meanwhile, subsidiary Jetstar has started receiving its new fleet of 38 A320neos, which consists of 18 A321LRs and 20 A321XLRs.