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Qantas Will Begin Retiring its A380 Superjumbos in Eight Years as it Announces New Jet Order

Qantas Will Begin Retiring its A380 Superjumbos in Eight Years as it Announces New Jet Order

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Australian flag carrier Qantas will start to retire its fleet of double-deck Airbus A380 superjumbos in just over eight years’ time as it takes delivery of state-of-the-art and much more fuel-efficient Airbus A350 aircraft, the airline announced on Thursday.

Qantas revealed the retirement timeline for its 10 superjumbos after it confirmed that it had struck deals with Airbus and Boeing for 24 new widebody planes that will also be used to replace the airline’s ageing A330 fleet.

The multi-billion-dollar includes a firm order for four Boeing 787-9 aircraft, eight Boeing 787-10 jets, and 12 Airbus A350-1000 planes. The airline has also negotiated additional purchase right options to replace its A380 fleet from 2032.

“This is another multi-billion dollar investment in the national carrier and it’s great news for our customers and our people,” commented outgoing Qantas CEO alan Joyce.

“It’s in addition to the 149 firm aircraft we still have on order to continue renewing the domestic fleet for Qantas and Jetstar, and for the non-stop Project Sunrise flights to London and New York.”

Described as a “generational” decision for the airline, the new jets really only start to be delivered from the end of 2027 at the earliest and will initially be used to replace Qantas’ fleet of A330 aircraft, which, by that point, will be 21 years old.

The A330 fleet is used on some domestic flights, as well as services to Asia and some destinations in the United States. Qantas confirmed that these aircraft will receive a cabin refit in 2025, including next-generation Economy Class seats, before they are replaced.

Vanessa Hudson, who is standing in the wings to take over from Joyce in November, said ‘Project Fysh’ (named in honour of Sir Hudson Fysh, who co-founded the airline) came off the back of Project Sunrise – which will allow Qantas to operate non-stop flights between Sydney and London, Paris and New York.

The first of 12 specially adapted Project Sunrise A350s will join the Qantas fleet from 2026, while the first two QantasLink A220 aircraft, which are part of the airline’s domestic fleet renewal, will come on line by the end of the year.

Subsequent A220 deliveries will, however, be delayed by up to four months due to continuing supply chain constraints.

“Our ability to afford these aircraft comes from years of restructuring and strengthening our balance sheet and our confidence about the future,” Hudson said on Thursday.

“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.”

Qantas also announced a full-year underlying profit before tax of A$2.47 billion, which is the airline’s first reported profit since the start of the pandemic. Domestic flying has already outstripped pre-pandemic levels, while international capacity has been rebuilt to just over 80% of 2019 levels.

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