Airlines Qantas to finalize 10-year domestic fleet renewal program

Australian flag-carrier Qantas is close to finalizing its renewal plan for the domestic fleet. Over 100 new aircraft could enter the airline´s fleet.

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Qantas Airways is closing in on deciding its aircraft fleet strategy “Project Winton” for the domestic market. Currently, the carrier is in talks with aircraft and engine manufacturers to find the best fitting aircraft for future operations within Australia.

By 2034, Qantas seeks to have completed the renewal strategy. The Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 717s, which are currently operating domestically, will be phased out by then. According to the airline, more than 100 new aircraft could join the fleet until then as long-term replacement.

The currently used fleet mostly consists of previous-generation aircraft, which are environmentally inferior to current-generation aircraft. They burn more fuel and are louder, furthermore the cabins are mostly old and more uncomfortable.

Qantas has stated that the final decision of which aircraft the airline will acquire will be made over the course of the next months, with firm purchase agreements set to be signed in mid-2022. Deliveries could then commence the year after.

At the International Air Transport Association AGM in Boston, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce is meeting with Airbus, Boeing and Embraer to discuss possible purchase deals. The airline is eyeing the Airbus A220, A320neo Family, Boeing 737 MAX Family or Embraer E2 jets as replacement.

“All of the next-generation aircraft we’re considering have the potential to drive big improvements in trip cost and overall efficiency, and they’re great platforms for delivering a better premium service to our customers,“ said Joyce.

Furthermore, Qantas wants to develop strategies for future fuel use on domestic flights: “Not only will these aircraft deliver a step change in reducing fuel burn and carbon emissions by up to around 15 per cent, we’re talking to each of the manufacturers about how we can accelerate the development and use of sustainable aviation fuels for our domestic flying,“ Joyce said.

According to Joyce, Qantas` strategy is it, to have the right aircraft for every route. This means, that a mix of aircraft should balance with the demand in each market. This right fit could mean, that more direct routes to smaller destinations and more flights throughout the day could be possible.

Qantas Group currently has and existing order book for over 100 aircraft, including three Boeing 787-9s and 109 Airbus A320/A321 aircraft, which mostly will be used for subsidiary Jetstar.

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