Qantas considering ultra-long range Airbus A350-900ULR

Qantas considering ultra-long range Airbus A350-900ULR

Qantas is weighing up the ultra-long range Airbus A350 for its post-2020 fleet as the airline begins to redraw its network map around non-stop flights of 16+ hours.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) conference in Dublin this week, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he was "absolutely" looking at the A350-900ULR, which Asian competitor Singapore Airlines will begin flying in 2018 to relaunch non-stop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York.

"You always look at all the options out there to make sure you're picking the one with the right economics" Joyce said, stacking the long-legged A350 against the Boeing 777-8X.

"And we have a bit of time on this, the 8X is not going to be available until 2022-2023, maybe a bit later. And Boeing and Airbus always keep some slots back for big brands like Qantas, so we would be able to get availability when we need it."

Discussions with Airbus, Boeing

Joyce and Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans said the airline is working with Airbus and Boeing to ensure that both of the next-gen jets are capable of flying the very long stretches required by Qantas.

"We've been in discussions with Boeing around the 777s for a while, and with Airbus on what they working on from a long-term perspective," Evans said.

"Over the next five years, as these aircraft come in, we want to be in the forefront of that and ensure the aircraft arrive with the right specifications that let us develop the right network over the next decade."

"We're really interested in aircraft that can fly a very long way, and the 777-8X and 9X are very interesting aeroplanes for us in the long term" he added.

Both the A350-900ULR and Boeing 777-8X are engineered to fly non-stop for as many as 19 hours, although carrying fewer travellers than a regular jet.

Also read: Can Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 redefine long-range flying?

That range meshes with Qantas' plans to extend its network with non-stop flights to more distant destinations.

In it for the long haul

"We've always operated some of the longest flights in the world, it's the nature of where Australia is" explains Joyce.

"Qantas has great unique IP in how we do that, our pilots and our engineers are very good at how we manage fuel and flight planning on these routes," he continues.

Joyce says this is "good expertise" to share with Airbus and Boeing "and hopefully be able to shape those products so that they work for the network that we can envisage in the future."

"This is why we bought the 787-9, because it has that long haul capability, and why we’d like to have the 777x and the A350 long haul eventually... it completely changes the game for Qantas because it allows us to have a network we could only have dreamed of in the past, and offer our customers more direct destinations."

"The opportunity to open up something like a Sydney-New York direct or a Sydney-London direct would be fantastic," Evans adds.

But there's no rushing such a crucial decision, nor an investment in buying multiple aircraft with a list price as high as US$400 million each.

"We want to make sure the aircraft is fully spec’d to where we want, and that takes a bit of time and a bit of work" Joyce says. "There's a bit of tweaking to the aircraft in order to get it there, but we've got plenty of time."

Also read: Qantas CEO promises "very luxurious" Boeing 787 configuration

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

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.
 

64 comments

  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 07:31 am

    and why we’d like to have the 777x and the A350 long haul eventually

    it sounds like he wants both aircraft in the fleet for ultra long haul? Does he mean that or is it supposed to say 777X or A350?

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  • Patricka340

    Patricka340

    3 Jun, 2016 07:48 am

    QF need the 777X or the a350, I know that the 777 is much bigger but having both is like having the a320 and 737, it doesn't work in Australia. I think they should go for the 777X and the 787 for thinner routes.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Jun, 2016 02:17 pm

    "..but having both is like having the a320 and 737, it doesn't work in Australia."

    I agree it'll be financially tough for QF to operate both 77X and 350.  Even in the most grand scheme conjured up by AJ, QF won't hv many ultra-long routes(i.e. well beyond 16hrs) to justify a large fleet of flying gas tanks like EK & QR can.  Splitting such small fleet(I'm guessing no more than 8-10 frames to sustain 3 daily frequencies/routes) into 2 types will deliver very poor econ of scale.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Jun, 2016 03:24 pm

    I disagree the challenge of having both a320 and 737 is a good analogy for the challenge of having both 77x and 350.  1st of all, dual narrowbody type fleet actually worked in Australia especially for QF Group....QF has 737 while JQ has 320.  2ndly, once the fleet size of a narrowbody type hit certain minimum level(About 50-60 frames by my estimate), bargaining power toward multiple manufacturers start to neutralize any additional commonality advantage fm a single type/manufacturer.

    QF's 737 fleet and JQ's 320 fleet are beyond that minimum size.

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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    3 Jun, 2016 04:28 pm

    When AA needed to order 450 new narrow bodies a few years ago, they split the order across 737s and A320s because niether Boeing or Airbus could meet the needed order size in the time they needed.

    If Boeing was able to pump out 450 new 737s in 3-4 years, AA would have gone with all 737.

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  • Dave

    Grannular

    3 Jun, 2016 09:45 am

    I think we are more likely to see Qantas convert their A380 orders to A350 than buying 777X.

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 10:03 am

    Or convert them to more a320neos for Qantas?

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  • moa999

    moa999

    3 Jun, 2016 10:49 am

    They already have plenty of 'Qantas Group' A320 orders

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 11:18 am

    Around 120-130 a320s would be needed. 

    55-60 for jet star

    65-70 for Qantas

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    3 Jun, 2016 11:47 am

    Make that A321s (and some LRs). Qantas could use them for Transcon, Trans-Tasman, Bali/Jakarta and South Pacific Islands services with a full international grade configuration.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Jun, 2016 03:26 pm

    Re JQ, does this figure include capacity requirements fm JetStar Asia, JetStar Pcf, JetStar Japan, etc.?

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  • Chris Pappas

    Pappy

    27 Jan, 2017 07:43 pm

    You're spot on, Grannular. Qantas will negotiate the product change from the 8 remaining A380's into a fleet of A350's. on spec, on time and without any penalties for dumping the A380's. If they go Boeing, they have to leverage to dump the A380's without penalty. It's a smart move, commercially. I also prefer the A350 to the B787/B777X. A much better product in my humble opinion.
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  • eminere

    eminere

    3 Jun, 2016 12:08 pm

    "We've always operated some of the longest flights in the world, it's the nature of where Australia is" explains Joyce. "Qantas has great unique IP in how we do that, our pilots and our engineers are very good at how we manage fuel and flight planning on these routes," he continues.

    By "IP" does Joyce mean intellectual property? I'm no aviation or legal expert but if so how exactly is that intellectual property?

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    3 Jun, 2016 12:11 pm

    I think Joyce was misusing "IP" - "human capital" or "intellectual capital" or simply "personnel expertise" would've been more accurate terms.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Jun, 2016 04:18 pm

    In the wider context, IP in terms of airline op mgmt can also include proprietary /in-house developed items such as;

    a) Very long range enroute weather /wind/ jetstream forecast models(Yes, @ high/cruise altitude so info/data not provided by our local weather station/channel...).  This has fuel savings and ride smoothness(even safety) implications for flight ops.....NW used to be well known for having the best dept in this area among industry peers.

    b) Logarithms for determing optimal speed, altitude, climb rate/profile, etc. under diff load scenerios for long range op planning(No, I'm not talking about the onboard softwares doing these calculations precisely on the day of departure but during the forward budget/profitability estimation phase prior to mission).  Mostly fuel consumption & engine wear implications.

    c) Experience+historic data for determining/predicting where to find those highly unpredictable jetstreams to ride on or avoid given a range of commercial airways/tracks to select for a mission.  Not only about fuel consumption but also about avoiding unscheduled refueling stops.

    d) Procedure to relay radio comm when signals thru std channels are jammed/under interference and your airplane is 2,000km away fm any control tower/ground antenna array in the middle of the Pacific.

    e) Crew training/qualification regime specific to very long range ops and unique to the carrier.  E.g. What if a pax has a heart-attack or died enroute?  Divert(Suitable medical facility @ diversion?) or continue to destination(How to determine if the pax can sustain despite a qualified captain is typically not a qualified doctor?)?  The knowledge bandwidth required fm crew are astonishingly high over such long distances. 

    etc., etc.

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    3 Jun, 2016 12:09 pm

    Whilst the A350-900ULR looks like a very cool plane, I don't think its the right choice for QF. QF want fleet rationalization, and the A350 will only add more types to the fleet.

    QF are probably just trying to make Boeing give them a better deal on the 777X, and are playing the "we have orders with Airbus right now we can swap over to the A350..." card.

    Honestly, I think direct flights from PER - LHR make little sense because that still means travelling from SYD/MEL/BNE to LHR requires one stop, and PER is more out of the way than DXB. The only routes QF needs the 777-8 for are MEL/SYD - DFW (the A380 can't do the return journey without a weight restriction) and SYD - JFK (which, in a premium four-class config, is certainly possible, but the return journey would have to stop at LAX to refuel).

    QF should stick with 787s and 777Xs for widebody airplanes. The 777-9 is the perfect replacement for the 747s (should have similar capacity in a four class config), and the 777-8 allows more ULH services which in turn reduces demand on the LAX routes.

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 12:13 pm

    So how many 787-9s do you think Qantas will order after the 8 if you think the B777-9 is the true replacement.

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    3 Jun, 2016 12:54 pm

    Plenty. For one, the 787-9 can replace all of Qantas A330s if its configured a bit more densely, to have around 280 seats or so (28 Business Suites, 21 Premium Economy, 233 Economy was the LOPA I came up with, giving a capacity of 282... which is in between the A332 and A333 capacity whilst also having higher-yield pax and extra cargo capacity).

    In addition, I think QF will add more long-range/low-density 787-9s to the fleet anyway for expansion and also frequency upgauging.

    So, I'd say a minimum of 30 787-9s will be ordered by QF in total. Probably more.

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 01:14 pm

    A mix of 10 and 9s

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    3 Jun, 2016 01:36 pm

    I'm not sure QF will need the 787-10. If they order it, we can expect it would have a capacity around 320 people and clearly it would be targeted to higher-density Asian routes. But corporate travellers prefer frequency over "OMG HUGE PLANE" and most of the high-demand Asian routes QF flies would probably be better suited to a 777-9 being used as the "upgauge" jet for premium frequencies.

    For instance, Hong Kong and Haneda. Both are slot-restricted Oneworld hubs where partner airlines have dedicated first class ground facilities. I can see those airports as being priority targets when the first 777-9s get introduced to the QF fleet (this would also allow First Class service to Asian ports to resume).

    Other Asian destinations can be served better through frequency upgauges, or aren't very high-yielding ones.

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 01:39 pm

    Wouldn't 78-10s be suited as the domestic wide body replacement?

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    3 Jun, 2016 01:47 pm

    787-10s would be too large. In addition, Qantas could easily get A321neos (or perhaps wait for Boeing's NSA?), stock them with widebody-grade product and fly them transcontinentally at higher frequencies.

    Do remember the A330s have only just been refurbished so we can expect to see them for at least 5 and perhaps 10 more years. Dreamliners can replace the A330s internationally, and the A330s can be returned to domestic duty.

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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    3 Jun, 2016 02:25 pm

    Which is what AA has done with their SFO and LAX-JFK transcons and their "A321T".

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    3 Jun, 2016 02:42 pm

    Exactly. Its a good idea, although AA's configuration is obviously far too premium-skewed for Transcons or flights to Auckland, Jakarta, Bali and the South Pacific Islands (which is what I'd target the jet for... a "miniature widebody" for transcon and short international runs).

    I'd probably stock it with 8 Business Suites, 10 Premium Economy (a dedicated PE toilet would replace one duo of PE seats), and the rest given over to Economy. But that's just me playing Armchair CEO.

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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    3 Jun, 2016 04:03 pm

    The AA A321T config is 10F, 20J, 36 "Main Cabin Extra" and 36 normal Y.

    The F seats are much like the CX long haul J seats and the J seats are simliar to the QF Skybed.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    3 Jun, 2016 06:58 pm

    Domesitc wide body is currently the A330-200 (with the odd -300 thrown in).

    The domestic replacement is the 788, which is what Qantas ordered the 787 for in the first place. Remember the grand plan was 788 to Jetstar, to be replaced by 789's with the 788's to come back in the Jetstar seating config for domestic.

    Lots of water under the bridge since that was first annouced, in particular the bulk of domestic wide body now days is to Perth, whereas before it was golden triangle.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Jun, 2016 06:37 pm

    "...not sure QF will need the 787-10.."

    In contrast, I'm pretty sure QF will eventually need something new near that size bracket AND specifically optimized for the payload/range required for Asian ops.  In other words, a nex gen machine to replace all 333 currently deployed on almost all QF Asian routes.  789 is NOT the real answer as it has surplus payload/range for such missions.

    Only 2 realistic choices: 78J(i.e. 787-10) or 339Neo.

    "...Hong Kong and Haneda...those airports as being priority targets when the first 777-9s get introduced to the QF fleet..."

    And I bet U if QF order 779 and when the 1st unit arrive, it'll be deployed straightway on a route fm SYD/MEL to somewhere in N.America....long before we see any of them show up @ HND or HKG.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Jun, 2016 06:21 pm

    Doesn't matter which config /class combo is selected, usable cabin floor areas of 333 and 789 are nearly identical.  As a result, in equivalent cabin product std, config and premium vs Y ratio, total seat count of a QF 789 will be the same as a QF 333. 

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Jun, 2016 06:13 pm

    Not sure how many 789 but I strongly believe QF will convert all their 787 options(holding 15 now) into firm order within the nex 2 FYs(Fiscal Yrs) if QF Int'l remain profitable throughout.  In addition, it'll also convert all their 787 purchase rights(holding 30 now) into options afterwards(Or simultaneously) which in turn will eventually become firm also.  Ultimate QF 787 fleet size will be 53.

    A bit like a player @ the blackjack table in Crown casino, AJ has recently turned his losing streak into a handsome win so he betted $80 on the nex round(e.g. 787 x8 deliveries for 2017-19).   If AJ win again, he'll double-down and bet $150 on the following round(e.g. turn 787 x15 options into firm order).  If AJ win again, he'll again double-down and bet $300 in the final round.  And then AJ walk across to the nex game table labeled  350 or 77X and keep on playing....

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 06:33 pm

    So place another order August next year and 2018. I wonder if they would increase the delivery schedule per year after the first 8 are delivered?

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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    3 Jun, 2016 03:44 pm

    Studio,

    Perth/LHR non-stop makes sense for Perth, Adelaid and Canberra and as it cuts out a stop which is a big deal for business types, I for one would use it from Canberra.  Sydney/Melb stop then a Dubai stop is a drag.  SQ with its new flights will have the jump on QF from Canberra until they come up with a plan to drop a stop, and via Perth maybe it.

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    3 Jun, 2016 04:33 pm

    Patrickk,

    Thanks. You are right; Canberra does get a stop cut out by taking PER - LHR (and it means PER residents have no stops to deal with), but isn't ADL serviced by Emirates flights with QF codeshares anyway? So the only real benefits would accrue to Perth and Canberra residents.

    Not that these are insignificant benefits; they're clearly meaningful. But frankly I'm skeptical about even a lightly loaded Dreamliner being able to make LHR... PER-LHR is 14 500km, and its a westbound flight. I admit I don't know the payload/range charts but still, it seems dicey.

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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    3 Jun, 2016 04:38 pm

    Given the winds, range, suitable diversion airports, route requirements/airspace limits, and needed payload, I don't think a 787 can reach west of Germany/Italy from PER.

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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    3 Jun, 2016 08:06 pm

    Himeno Perth London is less kms than Melb Dallas which will be an early destination and Learmouth can be set up as a diversion, so not as dire as you suggest. That is why AJ is talking it up. QF passengers prefer QF metal so Adelaide will feed in passengers as well.

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  • JakeDrake

    JakeDrake

    3 Jun, 2016 03:55 pm

    Have Qantas ordered the 777? I might have missed that announcement. If they haven't then whether they add the 777 or A350, either way that is a new type in the fleet so why not the A350?

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 04:10 pm

    The 787 and 777X will have a lot in common. 

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  • AJW

    AJW

    3 Jun, 2016 06:55 pm

    Common cock-pit rating is about all that is common.

    Which already exists with the A330 and the A350. And is an easy conversion from A320 and A380, but not a common rating.

    So a bit over rated actually and something that is not commonly used when there are sizeable enough fleets anyway.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Jun, 2016 06:58 pm

    Aside fm many cockpit procedures and crew qualification /some training credits, commonality between 787 and 77X is only a mkting myth/dream conjured up by Boeing PR team.

    E.g., U'll hv an extremely hard time trying to hv a common part code/number for a component shared between the 2 types.  And if there're 2 part codes/numbers, U are legally required to keep+use 2 sets of spares and more importantly, your crew must know they're diff even if they visually appear similar....it's really that simple.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    3 Jun, 2016 04:00 pm

    I don't follow the logic. Qantas doesn't have 777's either. So how would adding A350's add more types but be bad but ordering the 777 wouldn't? 

    And all all the arguments you make for the 777-9 and -8 apply equally to the various A350 models too. 

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 04:10 pm

    Because Qantas is ordering the 787 it makes more sense for commonality to buy the 777X. The A380s will be phased out from mid to late 2020s and most likely will be replaced by 777-9s. 

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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    3 Jun, 2016 04:22 pm

    Qantas Group currently has 8 orders and 4 options for A380s, 100 odd orders for A320s, 8 orders, 15 options and 30 rights for 787s.

    Qantas (and 7 other airlines) helped Boeing design the 777 and was heading towards ordering them, when the board at the time chose to go with the A380. They were the only airline working with Boeing on the design not to then order the aircraft.

    Qantas needs an aircraft to replace the 747ERs by the early-mid 2020s and also something to replace the A380s by the mid-late 2020s. The current options are 787-10s, A350-900s or 777Xs.

    The 787s are better suited to replace the A330s and for the "lighter" thiner 747 routes.

    The A380 and A320 orders/options QF currently has could be converted to A350s (and not lose the deposits paid already). Yet the 777X might be the better aircraft for the needed job.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    3 Jun, 2016 06:23 pm

    I think your timings are a bit out. Qantas was working with Boeing in the early 90's re the 777 design.

    What Qantas decided was the 777 was too big for their short haul routes, which at the time were the domain of the 767 and it didn't have the range (at that time) for the long haul flights. So leased in the BA 767's for domestic and placed top up orders for both the 767 and the 747 plus of course purchased the ugly sisters. They looked at the 777 again a few years later and decided to buy the 6 747-400ER's for genuine fleet cominality.

    The A330 and A380's came a bit later.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Jun, 2016 05:49 pm

    "...QF want fleet rationalization, and the A350 will only add more types..."

    Just pause, replace "A350" with "77X", and then re-read /rethink your statement again.  The same argument against 350 also works against 77X.

    Along with a handful of other bluechip airlines(i.e. JL, NH, CX, BA, UA, AA and DL), QF was indeed heavily involved in the development phase of the 777 platform and directly helped to design it over 2decades ago.  However, it's also famous for being the only 1 of those airlines which has never ordered any 777 at all.

    "..probably just trying to make Boeing give them a better deal.."

    Or again, can also be just trying to make Airbus give them a better deal.

    In a nutshell, AJ's comments re both 359ULR and 778 are nothing more than playing that classic price negotiation game of A vs B any half decent airline CEO should do anyway(May be even explicitly stated on AJ's Job Description....).  Less than a yr ago, he played the same game re 359 vs 789.

    "PER - LHR make little sense because ....travelling from SYD/MEL/BNE to LHR requires one stop."

    Good luck trying to sell the above idea to our fellow readers residing/based in Perth/W.A. where starvation of QF Int'l services is real and see if they care....

    A popular theme among readers/posters here(And many other public forums):  QF(In fact, any large longhaul carrier) should develop more longhaul destinations...as long as all those routes are nonstop fm my own town.

    Funny thing is that longhaul carriers like QF has actually been listening.  So no more mystery why very longhaul airplanes are getting smaller & smaller every decade and the orderbook for superjumbos like 380 remains so stubbornly small.

    "..QF should stick 787s and 777Xs....777-9 is the perfect replacement for the 747s..777-8 allows more ULH services..."

    Agree 779 is technically the exact 1-for-1 replacement for 744.  But why QF should stick with 787s and 777Xs?  How exactly will QF be worse off with a combo of 787+359ULR(for ULH)+35K(to replace 744)?  Why QF must replace 744 1-for-1(QF already voted partially not to when the 789 x8 are planned to replace 744 x5)?  By virtue of being smaller than 744/779, 35K can further help QF to decentralize its longhaul ops fm the current SYD/MEL-centric model(Of course, if U live in SYD/MEL, U couldn't care the less and may even dislike QF longhaul decentralization).

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying 787+350 is a better future for QF longhaul than 787+77X.  I simply believe there's no obvious overall advantage for QF longhaul fm choosing 1 combo over the other.  I firmly believe the choice will be down to contract pricing Airbus vs Boeing.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    3 Jun, 2016 06:28 pm

    Very true your last point. And a number of carriers are doing just that, having mixed 787 and A350 fleets. BA, SQ, VN, QR, TG, probably others too. Just putting the right a/c on the right routes.

    I've said it here before but reckon the A350-1000 or -900ULR would be a better aircraft for some of the ultra long haul routes being mentioned, with the 787 used on routes from secondary Australian ports or to secondary Asian ports.

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  • Trogdor

    Trogdor

    3 Jun, 2016 08:01 pm

    I think the argument is that after the 787, QF needs two more plane types - an ultra-long haul for PER-LON and the like, and something to run fatter routes to eventually replace the a380s and some 744s.

    While the 350ULR could do the former, the "regular" 359 is a little small for the latter, whereas a 778/779 combo could do both, and with the additional advantage of a common type rating with the 787.

    Completely agree with you on the Perth issue though, I think there'd be a ready market of people in PER, ADL and Canberra who would gladly avoid a Dubai stopover and go oz-U.K direct

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  • AJW

    AJW

    3 Jun, 2016 10:17 pm

    Except of course the 8 789's on order are being touted as replacements for 747's. 8-6 ratio if I am not mistaken.

     

    So no reason you couldn't have more of a smaller aircraft. So one for one size doesn't really matter. 

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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    3 Jun, 2016 10:51 pm

    Replacements for 747s, on long thing routes. Routes like YVR, SFO and (pending ETOPS approval) JNB and SCL where they currently need the range of the 747 or A380, but not the capaity. 787s will cover that issue.

    Other 747 routes like HND, HKG and LAX need the 747 sized cabin.

    Going with more aircraft and higher frequency runs into problems on the 12+ hour routes when you look at needed flight times and curfews. They can replace some of their 747 routes with 787s, they can't replace all of them.

    Current press releases are claiming the first 8 787s will replace 5 747s. Given the timing, QF current fleet, their current network and their stated plan network expansion, the stated 8-5 replacement is unlikely to happen as they have claimed to date. It is likely that the current confirmed orders will replace the 2 747s with the old seats, while allowing new routes and an A380 cabin refresh.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    6 Jun, 2016 06:17 pm

    "..HND, HKG and LAX need the 747 sized cabin."

    Ok, but again, why?

    "..more aircraft and higher frequency runs into problems on the 12+ hour routes..."

    Since when did SYD-HKG/HND sector duration increased drastically to 12+ hrs?  Plate tectonics causing AU drifting further apart fm Asia or QF started using much lower cruise speed?  SYD-HKG/HND never exceed 10hrs block time.  Only LAX-SYD/MEL exceed 12hrs+.

    "..when you look at needed flight times.."

    Huh?  Are U suggesting a larger aircraft needs less flight time than smaller ones?  That's an interesting theory and I've never heard of...

    "...and curfews."

    What curfews?  Each of HND, HKG and LAX has @ least 1 rwy and terminal area operational 24hrs a day yr-round.  HND and HKG even provide special incentives to attract operators to use them during 00:00-06:00 when almost all slots are vacant.  They  make curfew @ SYD less relevant and completely irrelevant @ MEL.

    "..can replace some of their 747 routes with 787, they can't replace all of them."

    I believe QF has never intended its 787 to replace all 744.  1st of all, 380 has already done some replacement for QF's highest traffic 744 routes.  2ndly, low-yield/fare capacity on many classic QF 744 Asian routes hv been(And may be more in the future) partially replaced by JQ 787 capacity.  When QF ordered+planned 744 Asian routes in the late 80s, there was no JQ...let alone vision of fuel-zipping 788s shuttling low fare pax between AU and Thailand+Singapore+Japan even @ offpeak/zombie departure/arrival hrs of the day.  Also, there was far fewer airport/rwy capacity @ key QF Asian cities back in the 80s.  Today e.g., Bangkok and Tokyo hv 2 int'l airports each and rwy capacity @ HKG will more than tripled by early nex decade.

    "...the stated 8-5 replacement is unlikely to happen as they have claimed to date."

    So despite the plan being stated on an official QF press release, U still believe QF chose to lie on purpose to the public or @ least mislead QF investors about their CapEx plan(i.e. fleet investment/divestment depositions)?  What is the advantage/purpose for a listed company like QF to announce such plan in such details and then drop it 2yrs later?  Invite discontent or even lawsuits fm investors?

    Most importantly, I hv absolutely no clue how U concluded "the timing, QF current fleet/network and their stated plan network expansion" are at odds with their stated 8-5 replacement plan.

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    6 Jun, 2016 04:33 pm

    "8-6 ration if I am not mistaken."

    789 x8 for 744 x5 per QF plan as reported numerous times on ausbt.com.au and other media. 

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    6 Jun, 2016 04:29 pm

    "..QF needs two more plane types...an ultra-long haul...and something to run fatter routes...350ULR could do the former, the regular 359 is a little small for the latter.."

    Except U've forgotten that there's a larger variant within the 350 family known as 35K.  35K and 77W(i.e. the current darling for most operators re "fatter" longhaul routes worldwide) hv almost identical total usable cabin floor area.

    "..there'd be a ready market of people in PER, ADL and Canberra who would gladly...go oz-U.K. direct."

    Oh I never doubt that and I'm sure same is true even e.g. ASP-LHR.

    The million $ question is how many willing to pay @ fare level sufficient to cover the inevitable extra op cost for such ultra-long  nonstop.  Latest gen very longhaul familes such as 787 and 350 hv extremely low fuel burn but they'll never change the fact that they won't be much more than a flying gas tank upon takeoff on PER-LHR.  My gut feeling is that there may be enough pax willing to pay for PER-LHR but few pax for ADL/CBR-PER-LHR(e.g. no time-savings vs routing via DXB so why pay extra?....for intangible patriotic love of QF?).

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  • Arunabh Saha

    EKaviator

    3 Jun, 2016 04:26 pm

    Qantas executives are right in taking a calculative approach to such a major investment and not rushing into it. Lots of variables have to be studied and analysed. The Airbus A350-900ULR would represent a new aircraft type in Qantas Group's fleet, and quite an expensive one at that as they would be used on niche long haul and ultra long haul segments.

    In fact, I see the Boeing 787 Dreamliner become the mainstay of the Group's fleet; it has already replaced Jetstar's Airbus A330s and will replace some of Qantas' Boeing 747s. Their size and range are ideal factors for long haul deployment across most of Africa, Asia, North America and South America. Qantas's own A330s can also be replaced by the 787-9 at a later stage with a higher density layout than its long haul 787s. It has an additional 15 options and another 30 purchase rights for the 787. Additionally, the domestic and international short haul A330s could also be replaced by the bigger 787-10, leaving the 787-9 solely for international long haul deployment.

    The Airbus A380s are likely to stay in the fleet for some time although the eight on order are probably not going to join the current twelve. At a later stage, the Boeing 777X appears to be a good replacement vehicle, which would also give Qantas the option of high density 777-9 and ultra long haul 777-8.

    Qantas could look at fleet commonality (777X and 787 operations) over introducing a new aircraft type (the A350ULR).

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  • Jedinak K

    Jedinak K

    3 Jun, 2016 06:46 pm

    In the argument for the B777X and the A350 one has to remember that the B777-8 seating arrangement is for around 350 passengers (about the same as B77W). How many routes around the world do you think QF can economically load more than 300 passengers on a range of atleast 16000km? New York and London are about the only two I can think off. Not to mention the lengths of these flights would mean the seat setup is premium heavy = hella expensive for the customer. Especially considering the plans they have for the B789 it doesn't make much sense to invest in getting a lot of larger ultra-long range aircraft. The A350ULR has the advantage of remodifying its fuel system to be economical in the circumstances that the ultra long range routes become unviable to operate. Then again the B777X/B787 commonality comes into play so all of this basically comes down to which manufacturer can give the better deal and the future market conditions.

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    3 Jun, 2016 07:19 pm

    Boeing 777X

    B777-8

    2 class
    Range:16,112km (8690nm
    Capacity:365

    3 class
    Range:17,177km (9275nm)
    Capacity:303

    B777-9
    3 class
    Range:14927km (8060nm)
    Capacity:349

    2 class
    Range:13,936km (7525nm)
    Capacity:414

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    3 Jun, 2016 08:12 pm

    Christopher,

    I really like this data but do you have a source/citation?

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    6 Jun, 2016 04:40 pm

    Hi found the stats here. 

     http://leadership.ng/columns/490089/shaping-up-the-b777x

    publish 9th January 2016. 

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    7 Jun, 2016 12:58 pm

    Christopher,

    Thank you very much. Those are excellent, current stats too. Good job.

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    7 Jun, 2016 01:03 pm

    They do indeed! Thanks

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  • DaveK

    DaveK

    3 Jun, 2016 10:02 pm

    Standard comments from a customer looking at keeping multiple vendors keen. If a vendor (Boeing or Airbus) know they have the business, price is naturally not as competitive as multiple vendors fighting for the business. 

    'big brands like Qantas' - maybe previously. Anyone know a list of international fleet sizes for airlines, now that would be interesting. Maybe AJ really meant 'big brands like Jetstar'.

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  • Ryan Stephen

    RaptorNation158

    3 Jun, 2016 11:32 pm

    Looks like they have a good idea of what they're getting themselves into so let's just put our faith in them and leave them to it instead of being armchair CEOs.

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  • Julian Chenoweth

    JulianC

    4 Jun, 2016 01:33 am

    Hmmm as a regular business traveller I can't stand the thought of regularly having to do 16 hours even in J/F. I'll take a SIN/HKG stop to stretch the legs and recompress any day. But its the crew I pity most. Am yet to meet a long haul 77W driver who relishes having to do 14-16 hour sectors on a regular basis. And the new generation of routes would be what, 16+ hours?

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  • FLX

    FLX1

    6 Jun, 2016 07:58 pm

    "...I can't stand the thought of regularly having to do 16 hours..."

    Apparently, many others can....or @ least enough takers to sustain such long ops on each route daily yr-round.  5 great examples worldwide by 5 diff operators still continuing today with no end in sight(i.e. solid forward bookings yr-round):

    JFK->HKG by CX =16h10m block time

    DXB->LAX by EK =16h15m block time

    DFW->HKG by AA =16h50m block time

    DFW->SYD by QF =16h55m block time

    SFO->SIN by UA =17h15m block time

    Even more amazing is that all these flights include significant seatcount in Y.

    Try it as a LONGHAUL "regular business traveller".  Who knows?...U may survive it after all.

    "Am yet to meet a long haul 77W driver who relishes having to do 14-16 hour sectors..."

    If U understand longhaul cockpit crew ops, U'll immediately know the simple reason U hv never met 1:  Because no single crew is legally allowed to be in command of the cockpit for 14-16hrs per current rules of any jurisdiction worldwide.

    Once block time pass about 8-9hrs(depending on jurisdiction or specific airline internal rules), a flight will require @ least 2 sets of crew.  If block time exceeds 18hrs, it'll require 3 sets of crew.

    Ever wonder why JQ network seems to be stuck in sectors below 9hrs and why is it such a big deal for SQ to fly 19hrs+ on NYC->SIN?

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  • zoomzoom

    zoomzoom

    8 Jun, 2016 04:13 pm

    As usual too little too late from QF. Still flogging tired and out dated 747s at inflated fares. This guy put the few 787s in Jetstar. Sorry, I given up on QF, better options at better prices elsewhere...and they go to more destinations. 

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  • flyOFTEN

    flyOFTEN

    8 Jun, 2016 04:18 pm

    if going to NYC, then nonstop is the go, but who wants to go anywhere near bloody awful Sydney. It adds 5 hours or more, when flying from Brisbane, so any advantage of flying nonstop is lost, unless you live in or near Sydney.

     

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  • Michael Sheargold

    Aussie100

    10 Jun, 2016 12:54 pm

    Come on Qantas get the A350 in the fleet!!! I think this aircraft is awesome on so many levels.  Would like to fly it on Qf but happy to go to another airline if I have to!!!

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19 Jul, 2019 08:04 am

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