Qantas Airways, the Australian flag carrier with largest fleet size, is reportedly expected to replace its old fleet of Boeing narrow-bodies with new Airbus A320neo and A220 aircrafts, Spelling out a major setback for the US aircraft manufacturer.
As its 737-800s and 717s are phased out, the Australian airline will first order 20 A220s and 20 A321XLR (with extra long-range), with an option to acquire an additional 94 over the next 10 years.
The purchase is in conjunction with Jetstar's current deal with Airbus for approximately 100 A320neo aircraft. The announcement of the new deal means that the two orders could be combined. According to the company, it secured a ‘material discount’ off the list price.
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Group, stated that because of how the airline handled the COVID-19 outbreak, it was able to make these commitments.
Joyce further thanked Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, along with the engine makers for their fullest efforts.
He also added that selecting the new fleet was a tough decision as each option matched Qantas’ core requirements of reduced emissions, capabilities, and safety. However, when speaking in terms of range and cost benefits for these many aircraft over the course of 20 years in the fleet, Airbus seemed to be the preferred choice.
The Airbus purchase has the additional advantage of enabling continued flexibility inside the order, allowing Qantas to choose from the complete A220 and A320neo series as there is likely to be constant change in demands in the coming years. The option to combine Qantas and Jetstar’s A320 orders was also a consideration.
Joyce also acknowledged that the A320 would be a new aircraft for Qantas Domestic, which was the go-to choice at it has been the backbone of Jetstar as well as its success for over 15 years, most recently operating in Western Australia's resources industry.
The Airbus aircrafts will most importantly be useful in delivering reduced carbon emissions and reducing the amount of fuel burnt as compared to the current Boeing fleet, which will get Qantas closer to its net-zero emissions target.