Qantas will take the axe to its domestic and international fleet, weeding out older aircraft and delaying orders for new aircraft as part of an aggressive $2 billion cost-saving campaign.
The older planes are less fuel-efficient than more modern jets and also carry a higher maintenance bill, and their early retirement will allow Qantas to speed up its ‘fleet simplification’ drive to reduce number of different aircraft types it flies.
Old Boeings out
Qantas has confirmed the retirement of its ageing Boeing 767 fleet, with all 15 of the twin-aisle domestic jets put out to pasture by third quarter of 2015.
The Boeing 767s will be replaced by Airbus A330s from Jetstar as the budget airline switches its own international fleet over to the newer Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Also headed for the farm are six non-reconfigured Boeing 747 jumbo jets, which will be cut by mid-2016.
The Flying Kangaroo’s former flagship has become a costly fuel-guzzler compared to the newer Airbus A380 super jumbo.
Qantas will retain the nine jumbos which have been upgraded to new lie-flat business class Skybed seats, along with refreshed premium economy and economy seats and a new inflight entertainment system.
Airbus 380s deferred
Qantas will halt orders for eight Airbus A380s on top of the 12 already in service, "with an ongoing review of delivery dates to meet potential future requirements."
In a Fleet, Efficiency & Engineering presentation to media and analysts in October 2013 Qantas pegged all eight of those remaining superjumbos for delivery in the 2017-2025 period.
With the A380's list price currently sitting at US$414 million (A$461), each undelivered superjumbo places a sizeable marker on Qantas' forward balance sheet.
Qantas will also push back on its orders for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to help balance the books, with the final three of Jetstar's 14 Boeing 787s deferred.
However, the low-cost airline remains on track to have 11 Dreamliners by the middle of 2016 as it continues to hand its Airbus A330s back to Qantas.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.