Qantas details Airbus A380 retirement plans with new order

Qantas detailed that it will begin replacing its Airbus A380s in the early 2030s
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Qantas has detailed retirement plans for its largest aircraft, the Airbus A380, alongside a new order for more Airbus A350-1000, Boeing 787-9 and 787-9 aircraft which will replace the A380s from around FY32.

However, the A350s that will replace the double-decker aircraft are still options. The 12 Airbus A350-1000s ordered by the airline will now be delivered from FY28, with Qantas negotiating “additional purchase right options, split evenly between both manufacturers, to give flexibility for future growth and ultimately replace its 10 A380s with A350s from around FY32 onwards”.

Meanwhile, the 12 Boeing 787s, split between four 787-9 and eight 787-10, will be delivered from FY27.

The A350s and 787s will replace the airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft, which will be, on average, 21 years old, by FY27.

“This is another multi-billion dollar investment in the national carrier and it’s great news for our customers and our people,” Alan Joyce, the outgoing Qantas Group chief executive officer (CEO), said.

Meanwhile, Vanessa Hudson, the group’s CEO-designate, added that both orders were negotiated off the back of the narrow-body and Project Sunrise campaigns, “and that momentum helped deliver pricing and delivery slots that makes this an excellent opportunity for the Group”.

“Our entire fleet plan has a lot of flexibility built into it so we can slow down deliveries or, within reason, bring them forward depending on the broader market,” Hudson continued.

Qantas brought back its Airbus A380s once international markets began to reopen following the pandemic. The airline now operates seven of its 10 superjumbos, with the remaining three currently undergoing maintenance following long-term storage.

Previously, Joyce said that Qantas plans to operate the aircraft into the 2030s, with all 10 flying customers out of Australia in 2024.

Returning to profitability

Qantas also announced its FY23 results, returning to a full-year profit for the first time since the pandemic.

Its net profit for the period was AUD1.7 billion ($1 billion), with Joyce saying that the results showed “a substantial turnaround in both our finances and service over the past year”.

“Travel demand is incredibly robust and we’ve taken delivery of more aircraft and opened up new routes to help meet it,” Joyce added.

In an investor presentation, Qantas said that it “is seeing strong trading into 1H24 with the Dual Brand strategy and Loyalty membership base uniquely positioning the Group to navigate macroeconomic conditions”.

Furthermore, the airline said travel “has remained a priority with intent to travel domestically 2x pre-COVID levels and intent to travel internationally 60-80% above pre-COVID levels during the last 12 months”.

As such, Qantas “remains committed” to reaching its FY24 targets, including deploying 95% of pre-covid capacity by the end of the financial period, which will end on June 30, 2024.

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