Qantas defers Dreamliner options to 2017

A digital image of a Qantas 787
Any potential Dreamliner in Qantas colours won’t come any earlier than close to the end of the decade.

Qantas has pushed back the deadline for exercising the first of its 50 options and purchase rights for Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft for 12 months and confirmed it has delayed delivery of Airbus A320neos for Jetstar by four years.

The airline group also plans to reduce its overall fleet to below 300 aircraft during 2014/15 as older aircraft leave the fleet and a number of leases are not renewed.

The updated fleet plan was released alongside Qantas’s full year results on Thursday, when the company posted a statutory net loss of $2.8 billion.

Under the restructured order book, Qantas said the first 787 options and purchase rights would now be in 2017, from 2016 previously.

Qantas chief financial officer Gareth Evans said pushing back the options and purchase rights were in line with the completion of the airline’s transformation plan.

“We’re very much looking forward to exercising those options and purchase rights and bringing those aircraft into the Qantas fleet,” Evans told reporters at the company’s full year results presentation in Sydney on Thursday.

“We’ve got to get through the transformation of the business first and drive the international business in profitability and we’re well on track to do that.”

So far Jetstar has taken delivery of seven 787-8 aircraft, which had enabled the low-cost carrier to transfer Airbus A330-200s back to Qantas. In turn, that will allow Qantas to retire its fleet of 767s.

Jetstar was expected to take 11 787s.

The Australian and International Pilots Association, which is the union representing Qantas pilots, said Qantas needed to invest in modern, fuel-efficient fleet to return its international operations to profitability.

“Qantas International is a prestige brand and passengers rightly demand the highest quality,” AIPA president Nathan Safe said in a statement.

“For the business to be successful Qantas needs to be offering the right aircraft. Today that means investing in new B-787s.

“You need to invest strategically if you want to generate growth. Slashing away and simply hoping things will turn around can never be the solution. You can’t cut your way to long-term success.”

In a slide presentation accompanying the financial results, Qantas said it took delivery of 23 aircraft in 2013/14 – four Boeing 737-800s, two Bombardier Q400s, five Boeing 717-200s, four Boeing 787-8s and eight Airbus A320s.

At the same time, 27 aircraft left the fleet – three Boeing 747-400s, seven Boeing 767-300s, six Boeing 737-800s, five Airbus A320s, two Bombardier Q200s and four EMB-120s.

From 308 aircraft at June 30 2014, the fleet was forecast to reduce by 10 frames to 298 during 2014/15.

The airline group planned to accept 10 aircraft deliveries – five 737s, four 787-8s and one Q400 – in the current financial year.

Meanwhile, 18 aircraft were due to be retired, comprising two 747-400s, all 13 767-300s and three EMB-120s. Also, two Airbus A320s that were currently with Jetstar would be returned to their lessors.

And in response to the “more subdued domestic capacity outlook and shift to more efficient utilisation of narrow-body aircraft”, Qantas was selling two 737s, two Q300s and five A320s that were on order for Jetstar during 2014/15.

Also, the leases on two Qantas domestic A330-200s would not be renewed, with the two aircraft due to exit the fleet in 2015/16.

Looking further ahead, the airline group has also converted orders for 21 current model A320s to A320neo (new engine option) aircraft and pushed the delivery dates on those new aircraft back four years.

The changes mean Qantas has orders for 99 A320neos, which Evans said were earmarked for the Jetstar’s operations in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam and, pending approval, Hong Kong.

“So those aircraft are now out into the 2020,” Evans said.

“The plan is and always has been that these neos will replace the existing ceos in the Jetstar Group. A large proportion of Jetstar’s aircraft are leased, were leased when Jetstar started and as the leases roll off, we will roll in the new more efficient neos over time.”

QF fleet chart
A fleet chart from briefing slides included as part of the Qantas results announcement.

Comments

  1. Charles says

    Agree with David VG and still no 777’s in sight to replace the ageing 747, can I have a job at Qantas please, how hard can it be!

  2. Clinton says

    After years of losses, why is Mr Joyce still in this position along with the board. This is a poor decision. All new aircraft acquisitions are discussed and approved by the board. With an ageing fleet of 767’s and 747’s, it makes perfect sense to rapidly acquire these airframes in order to save running costs and improve efficiencies.

    Just throwing it out there, but I think the airline should upgrade its livery. Think the old red tails are a bit long in the tooth. New airframes with a new style of kangaroo and colours will reignite nations pride in the airline. I believe AirNZ have done this very well.

  3. Marc says

    Such an illogical mix of Boeing & Airbus craft amongst divisions; As is the plane swapping between Q & JS livery. Concur with B777 comments mentioned previously, numerously and elsewhere.

  4. John Harrison says

    Its hard to work out where Qantas Management comes from at times. Looking at other airlines in this region ( Air NewZealand and Virgin) they are both buying more aircraft. Surely with all the hype about the Boeing 787, Qantas should be bring forward the obtaining of these aircraft, and stop giving them to Jetstar. My this is only an aviation (well read) “nut’s view. I think Qantas should be going forward, not marking time or going backwards.
    Also ex Qantas staffer, I hate to watch all the problems people like Mr Joyce seem to be bringing to the Once Great Company.

  5. Patrick Sandwich says

    With these losses, Qantas will not be able to by used BAC 111’s let alone 787’s. The writing is on the wall, it is time that Mr. Joyce cash his shares in and move on, Ryan Air is looking for a CEO!

  6. Riplander says

    What’s the point of the 777? If they were to be ordered they should have been ordered years ago. Now it’s too late as production slots have all but been taken until 2020. Highly unlikely that Qantas will get 777X simply because they do not currently serve a market which requires the performance of the 777. The intended replacement of the 747 is the A380, at least they should look to invest in the remaining eight orders. However I do agree that QF would need the 787 now to retire the gas-guzzling 767s and access markets where it wasn’t viable to do so previously.

  7. Nick says

    What a disaster, 3 things

    1. Why they didn’t get the 777s years ago is beyond my knowledge as I’m only 20 but it sure hasn’t helped them having 767s for the last few years

    2. They have 4 B-787 brand new premium aircraft with fantastic performance, range and fuel consumption why are they with Jetstar the LCC? Why not with Qantas on a longer international route that offers a higher RPK servicing premium class passengers?

    3. Thirdly the mix of Aircraft is questionable, why A320s and 737s, Wouldn’t one type offer more economies of scale? I understand 70 of each aircraft is considerable but 140 A320s would really offer some cost cutting advantages

    But you can’t go back in time, however these three poor choices are possible about to be joined by a fourth by delaying the 787…

    Can’t see you lasting Qantas…

  8. Bob says

    Getting the 787 later rather than sooner is dumb. The flying public needs a good reason to consider QF international rather than look at the new types with the alternatives.

  9. Arcanum says

    I believe all the 787s they’ve received so far are all -8s, while the planes intended for Qantas are -9s. Perhaps that’s why Jetstar is getting the 787s now and Qantas is having to make do with the A330s.

  10. andrew says

    Qantas should order 30 787-900 and 20 777 9x to replace 747-400 747400er and a330 two aircraft types are better than three !!