a group of airplanes with red and white markings

Qantas Orders 12 A350-1000 and 12 B787 for Fleet Replacement

Qantas has ordered twelve additional Airbus A350-1000s and twelve Boeing 787 Dreamliners (comprising eight 787-10s and four 787-9s) as part of its fleet renewal plan. These new A350s and B787s will eventually replace the aging fleet of A330s and A380s.

Scheduled for delivery from FY27, the Australian flag carrier also has options, evenly split between the two manufacturers, to give flexibility and buy more of the aircraft over the next decade and beyond.

The newly ordered A350-1000s are separate from the twelve ultra-long range A350-1000s ordered by the carrier to undertake its ambitious Project Sunrise flights from Sydney, Melbourne to London and New York from 2025/26 onwards.

As part of its fleet renewal program, Qantas has also negotiated additional purchase-right options to ultimately replace its 10 Airbus A380s with the A350s from around FY32 onwards.

Qantas A350-1000
Qantas A350-1000

The new A350-1000s joining Qantas from FY28 will also aid in replacing the A330s.

Alongside the Airbus A350s, Qantas is also set to bolster its fleet with 12 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, comprising eight 787-10s and four 787-9s. These Dreamliners will serve as replacements for the aging A330s, marking a pivotal transition in the airline’s domestic and short- to medium-range operations.

“Both the 787 and A350 and the GE and Rolls Royce engines fitted to them, are thoroughly proven and extremely capable. 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.”

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

Qantas A330 Replacement

Both the Airbus A350s and B787s will play their part in the replacement of the sixteen A330-200s and ten -300s that are currently between fifteen and over nineteen years old.

Like the A330s, those additional 787s will feature on key domestic routes such as Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth as well as short- to medium-range routes to New Zealand and Asia.

a plane flying in the sky
Qantas Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner

While the Boeing 787-10 may not have the range for direct trans-Pacific flights between Brisbane and California/Vancouver, it presents a compelling proposition for numerous routes. The aircraft will facilitate nonstop flights from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to destinations such as Honolulu, Bangalore, Seoul, Shanghai, and Beijing, eliminating payload constraints.

Even though Qantas’ A330 fleet does not have a Premium Economy cabin, the new B787-10s will feature the same configuration of the current B787-9 jets, including a Premium Economy cabin, so that these B787s can easily be deployed onto international routes.

“We’ll actually get growth from these aircraft as well because they have a fantastic range, they have better fuel efficiency and they are also going to enable us to open more routes across the Pacific, but also into Europe and also Asia.”

Qantas CFO and incoming CEO Vanessa Hudson told Executive Traveller.

According to Qantas, the forthcoming A321XLR fleet, designed to take over the role of the Boeing 737 on domestic and short-hop international routes, will also serve as a complementary addition to the Boeing 787s in replacing the A330.

Qantas orders Airbus A321XLR
Qantas A321XLR

The average age of Qantas’ A330 fleet will be 21 years at the time the replacement program starts in FY27. As the program progresses, the A330s slated for retirement towards the program’s culmination will undergo cabin refurbishments from FY25 onward, featuring new Economy cabin seats.

“These are generational decisions for this company. The aircraft will arrive over a decade or more and they’ll be part of the fleet for 20 years. They’ll unlock new routes and better travel experiences for customers, and new jobs and promotions for our people.”

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
a couple of airplanes in the sky
Qantas Boeing 787-9 and 787-10.

Qantas has named its international fleet renewal ‘Project Fysh’ in honour of Sir Hudson Fysh who co-founded the airline and was Managing Director when it commenced international flying in 1935.

Qantas Group Fleet Renewal Overview

  • The Qantas Group is on track to receive the first two QantasLink A220 aircraft by the end of this calendar year; subsequent deliveries are expected to be delayed by up to four months as a result of supply chain disruption.
  • The first of seven mid-life A320 family aircraft to meet growing resources flying and Jetstar Asia recovery are expected to arrive before the end of December 2023.
  • Twenty-two of the previously announced E190s wet-leased from Alliance Airlines are scheduled to have joined the Qantas fleet by the end of December 2023.
  • Two more A321 converted freighters are expected to arrive by the end of December 2023.
  • Jetstar’s 18 Airbus A321LRs are on track to enter the fleet by the end of calendar year 2024, with a further 20 A321LRs and A321XLRs set to be delivered by calendar year 2029.
  • The first of 12 Airbus A350-1000 ULRs for Project Sunrise are due to arrive in FY26.
a diagram of different types of aircraft
Qantas Fleet Overview

All Images via Qantas