Qantas cancels a 787-8, adds Q400s and 717s

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 18, 2013
More 717s will soon be operating on Qantas regional routes. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas has announced it will lease an additional five 717s and purchase three more Q400s to bolster its domestic business, as well as cancel a single 787-8 order for Jetstar.

In what is a clear competitve response to the announcement by Virgin Australia it is seeking to grow its regional airline portfolio through the acquisition of Skywest, the additional Boeing 717s and Bombardier Q400s will support Qantas’s defensive position on thinner regional routes, particularly in Western Australia. Qantas’s existing 717 fleet is operated for QantasLink by Cobham.

While announcing the additional aircraft, Qantas said it had cancelled a single 787-8 scheduled for delivery to Jetstar. The cancellation is unrelated to the current 787 technical issues and grounding, with Qantas saying the decision to “amend” the 787 order was taken at the end of 2012.  The remaining 14 787-8s will be delivered to Jetstar as planned from mid-2013, with the first of the new aircraft having recently entered production.

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A Qantas spokesman told Australian Aviation the single cancellation does not suggest a change to Jetstar’s international growth plans, but reflects the flexibility inherent in the Group’s 787 remaining orders and purchase rights for 50 787s that will allow it to convert options according to market demand.

“Jetstar will continue to grow. This is about using the flexibility in our order arrangements for the 787.”

The flexibility of purchase rights will also enable Qantas to switch between 787-8 and 787-9 models, the spokesman said.

Qantas said the fleet changes will not have any material impact on the Group’s planned capital expenditure, suggesting the cancellation of the 787 will help fund the new aircraft.

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10 Comments

  • J

    says:

    Qantas strikes again – go Virgin Australia! When will Joyce move on???

  • Shane

    says:

    “…Qantas saying the decision to “amend” the 787 order was taken at the end of 2013”

    Should that read 2012?

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      thanks, it should (and now does)

  • peter

    says:

    For those of you not on the west coast, Qantas and Qantaslink dominate the market over here and Virgin are trying to play catch up with the resources boom with the attempt to purchase Skywest. Skywest have desserted the Kimberley and Pilbara over the last year or so but Qantas and its partner Airnorth improve and enhance services. Qantas have expanded east coast flights from Port Hedland, Karratha and Broome whilst Virgin has failed to identify the missing link to the East Coast.

    WA is propping up the country and our two main carriers. But a budget service is needed to enhance tourism in the northwest.

  • Ky

    says:

    Peter you forgot fo thank Qantas also for charging excessive amounts for their tickets

  • pez

    says:

    Makes perfect sense to me; they know they need more regional capacity, they don’t know exactly how the 787s will be used/needed, plus with the options still outstanding on the 787, they can top up the order down the road if they need to.

  • Adam

    says:

    I recently travelled on a Qantas flight from Cairns to Sydney on an ageing Boeing 767-300. These aircraft are so outdated and the entertainment options are just non-existant. When it came to landing at YSSY several of the overhead lockers abruptly popped open, now anybody who has flown will understand that that poses a serious safety hazard to those sitting underneath the compartment. A heavy bag hitting a passenger on the head could cause series head and spinal injuries. When I disembarked the aircraft I quizzed one of the flight attendants on the issue and she shook her head and replied by saying that “It’s a normal occurrence”. This fact is disturbing to know as a passenger and will definitely consider flying Virgin Australia (onboard a modern E190 or 737-800) on my next flight until Qantas get their act together.

  • Nicholas Roche

    says:

    I use to fly QANTAS. all the time, but have since started using the services of Viirgin Australia. The main reasons, the service is so much better, followed by a nice young fleet of planes. The management of QANTAS is succeeding in turning once a proud and successful airline into something of a second rate carrier.

  • Darren

    says:

    Well in response to the above I flew Adelaide to Perth on Virgin. I was excited to be on an aircraft with a renewed interior. Just as well I brought my novel as there was no inflight entertainment aside from looking out the window. We returned on Qantas VXB. Now an older 737-8. Radio and Movies (not seat back, but better than nothing). Previously we took the ‘cheap’ flight out of Perth on a E190. No inflight and a distressed check in staff member who wondered why we (as a family) wanted to sit together! Neither airline is faultless and I’ve had differing experiences on both. Anyway the thrust of this article is in respect to the fleet announcements. It would seem that Qantas is going to meet the Virgin Challenge headon. However I wonder about the constant shifting in the 787’s. With the slots they had I would have been inclined to keep the aircraft for 767 replacement, and/or
    if required lease them out to other airlines who want them, but couldn’t get early delivery.

  • stuart lawrence

    says:

    Come on Qantas buy the 777 as they are the perfect fit instead of waiting for the 787

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