The Qantas Group is set to pause the delivery of three Boeing 787-9s and 18 Airbus A321neos, as it considers what its fleet will look like after the coronavirus pandemic has eased.
The news, confirmed by the airline on Monday afternoon, comes in addition to the business announcing it was halting the delivery of 12 A350s capable of flying ‘Project Sunrise’ London and New York to Sydney routes.
It also follows the business confirming last week it was extending staff stand-downs and domestic network cancellations into July.
As part of a major market update, the wider Qantas Group revealed it had secured a further $550 million in funding against three of its wholly-owned 787-9 aircraft, following the $1 billion raised in March against seven 787-9s.
Joyce said, “Our ability to withstand this crisis and its aftermath is only possible because we’re tapping into a balance sheet that has taken years to build.
“We’re expecting demand recovery to be gradual and it will be some time before total demand reaches pre-crisis levels. That means we need to think about what the Qantas Group should look like on the other side of this crisis in order to succeed.”
The group also revealed that it’s now operating just 13 per cent of its domestic network, and 6 per cent of international in terms of flying hours.
However, the airline made some bold predictions as to when services could ramp up.
“The initial easing of government restrictions suggests some domestic travel may start to return before the end of July – though initial demand levels are hard to predict,” said a Qantas statement. “The group will continue to monitor the situation and can increase capacity with a minimum lead time of around one week.”
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a three-step plan to restore Australia’s economy, which hinted that interstate flights could resume in July.