Qantas to consider new narrowbody options in the “medium term”

written by Gerard Frawley | November 18, 2014
Qantas's 737 retrojet at Boeing Field on Sunday. (Gerard Frawley)
Qantas’s 737 retro jet at Boeing Field on Sunday. (Gerard Frawley)

Qantas will consider its options for new narrobody aircraft in the ”medium term”, says chief financial officer Gareth Evans.

Evans was speaking in Seattle where Qantas had just taken delivery of its 75th and last Boeing 737-800 on order, the “retro” painted VH-XZP. That aircraft’s delivery means Qantas mainline currently has no outstanding firm aircraft orders, but that it is also nearing a long-held goal of fleet simplification.

“At some point within the next few years, in the medium term, then we will have to make an evaluation of the next Qantas domestic narrowbodies, the oldest of which are 12 years, 2002 vintage, so still relatively young,” Evans told Australian Aviation on the sidelines of the delivery ceremony for the retro 737 at Boeing’s delivery centre on Boeing Field.

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“And that evaluation will of course look at the 737 MAX, which is a fantastic aircraft, and the A320neo as well, to evaluate those two aircraft to see which is the right one to bring into the Qantas domestic fleet.”

Competitor Virgin Australia already has 23 737 MAXes on order, for first delivery from 2018, while Qantas low-cost carrier subsidiary Jetstar has 99 Airbus A320neo aircraft on order for delivery from 2017. Both aircraft promise fuel-savings in the order of 15 per cent over current generation 737s and A320s.

“Qantas is at the right time going to invest in new generation [domestic] aircraft,” Evans said.

“The thing with fleet planning is it doesn’t make economic sense to have the newest thing right now. We’ve got great aeroplanes with lots of economic life left on them and the right economic thing to do is to use that economic life, and when the time is right you invest in the new technology, and that’s what Qantas will do.”

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Meanwhile, the retirement of Qantas’s last Boeing 767s next month means the airline is close to realising its aim of aircraft type rationalisation.

“We’ve got the youngest fleet age we’ve had for 20 years, and we’re about to achieve a goal that we’ve been striving for for years which is fleet simplification, so the 767s exit the fleet on the 27th of December,” Evans said.

“They’ve been great aircraft, again reflecting the history of the organisation, a wonderful aircraft, but they’re now old and it is time for them to go. So we will now have a simplified, more modern, more efficient domestic fleet with A330-200s and 737-800s, and we’ve got the flexibility to flex capacity within that fleet up and down.”

Qantas CFO Gareth Evans speaks at the retrojet delivery ceremony.
Qantas CFO Gareth Evans speaks at the retro jet delivery ceremony. Qantas technical pilot Capt Alex Passerini looks on.

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12 Comments

  • Glen

    says:

    This is just not good enough they should have ordered newer aircraft years ago the MAX or the NEO the 737-800 is very old design now by modern standards.

  • Liam Straughan

    says:

    I believe the 737 MAX would be an excellent choice by Qantas, to supplement or even replace the NG at some point. A good, solid track record.

  • ChrisC

    says:

    One would think the replacement of the retiring wide bodies is the immediate priority (767 & 747). Or is this covered by the transfer of Jetstar A330s?

  • Patrick

    says:

    @ChrisC yes as Jetstar is getting the Boeing 787-8 and transferring the A330-200’s back to Qantas, they are replacing the Boeing 767, there are already 2 or 3 flight between SYD-MEL are operating with A332/A333.The finally the Boeing 747’s as Qantas get there last A380’s.I think the Boeing 747-400’s are going to be fazed out by the end of 2016.
    Cheers Patrick

  • Red Barron

    says:

    It’s obvious the 747MAX is the next step but Qantas need to keep Boeing honest and play Airbus against each other hence the comment from gareth regarding the MAX and the A320NEO. All of us aviation fans prefer the Boeing product but 98% of the customers wouldn’t know what make, yet model they regularly travel in.

  • Dante

    says:

    Qantas haven’t got their fleet simplification right. They shouldn’t have a mix of Boeing and Airbus aircraft in their domestic fleet as the pilots promoted to the larger Airbus aircraft require longer periods of training to fly those aircraft. It would make more sense to have A320s & A330s or B737 & B777/787 combinations. They are now getting Jetstar’s fleet complicated by replacing A330s with B787 when they also have A320s.

  • Andrew

    says:

    Qantas should have the a320neo order equally mixed between qantas & jetstar. theres just something not right about qantas having 10 aircraft on order and jetstar having 106 on order.

  • Stuart lawrence

    says:

    Qantas should either have an all Boeing fleet made up of 747 800 787 and 777 and 737 900 or 800 or an all air bus fleet of 380 340 330 320s and maybe 350 instead of the 340s.

  • David

    says:

    Jetstar & Qantas fleets should be seen as combinable.

    The only headache is moving flight crew from QF to JQ & v.v.

    For some reason QF crew for some reason, think they are worth more than JQ crew ?

  • Nick

    says:

    Patrick, Qantas will not be taking delivery of the last eight A380’s that they ordered – the fleet will remain at 12.

    The international fleet of the future will be all twin engined wide-body’s – probably a mix of B787-9’s and B777-9X as the B747, A330 & A380 fleets are phased out.

    Domestically, I expect that A320’s will enter the mainline fleet as there have been too many ordered for Jetstar (the Asian franchises aren’t doing well) so the surplus could be directed into mainline. Also, the A320 has better passenger appeal than the B737, mainly due to the extra cabin width which allows more hip & shoulder room which is important for the average Australian.

  • aussie0000

    says:

    Not fussed what Quantas use. I will not fly with them

  • john doutch

    says:

    An Aussie doesn’t know how to spell QANTAS!!

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