Fleet renewal is an important consideration for the Australian airline industry, according to Graeme Ferguson, director of corporate ratings for S&P Global Ratings. He notes that fleet replacement – in terms of orders and deliveries – has been lagging in recent years.
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Although airline capacity growth has largely stalled in the Australian market, Qantas is preparing to assess new aircraft types as it looks ahead to its next phase of fleet replacement and expansion.
Qantas plans to start non-stop service from Australia’s east coast cities to destinations such as London and New York by 2022. The Australian carrier has tasked Airbus and Boeing to develop a aircraft capable of these ultra long-haul flights.
Qantas is examining the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X families for this requirement, and is on track to make a decision by the end of this year, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said at the CAPA-Center for Aviation’s Australia-Pacific Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit on Aug. 7.
While this plan – known as Project Sunrise – has been capturing global headlines, many other major order decisions are looming for Qantas. These will be tackled next year, after the long-haul order has been placed.
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Qantas will be considering ordering more 787-9s next year, says CEO Alan Joyce. The carrier also intends to launch a competition to replace its 75 Boeing 737s. The contenders will be the 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo families. Looking further ahead, Joyce believes Boeing’s proposed new midmarket airplane (NMA) program will be “the perfect aircraft” for certain domestic trunk routes such as Sydney-Melbourne. And in its regional operation, Qantas will be considering replacement options for its Fokker F100s and Boeing 717s, Joyce says.
Sydney to New York
Distance: 15989.17 km = 9935.21 miles
Flight Time: Approx. 20 hours, 22 minutes
Sydney to London
Distance: 17,016 km = 10,573 miles
Flight Time: Approx. 20 hours, 42 minutes