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Boeing 787 orders hot up as Qantas expands order to 65 aircraft

Qantas Airways has announced it will finalize a deal later this month to buy 20 more General Electric GEnx-powered Boeing 787s and convert an additional 20 purchase rights into options.

The new order will raise Qantas’ total firm orders for 787s to 65 aircraft, plus 20 options and 30 purchase rights.

Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon has also called on Boeing to formally commit to building a long-range 787-10 stretch model. The manufacturer has said a notional -10 concept is not being timed to enter service before 2013.

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“We are looking to Boeing to commit to a -10 aircraft…an aircraft with a longer range but with the same technology as the 787 aircraft,” Dixon says.

Qantas is interested in an aircraft with 350 seats that can reach the West Coast of the USA from Sydney on a nonstop flight with a full load of passengers and cargo, he adds.

The airline is also interested in reviewing the Airbus A350-1000. “We are looking very, very carefully at the A350,” Dixon says, adding: “There is no doubt the A350 now is a very, very good aircraft.”

Qantas plans to enter service with the 787-8 baseline model next July, with its low-cost operator Jetstar Airways taking the first 15 aircraft to launch its international operations.

The mainline carrier will accept the next batch of aircraft, which are notionally to be 787-9s, although Qantas has the flexibility to switch to other models of the 787, to include the potential -10 model, says Dixon.

Qantas also has no intention to sell or trade its production slots to other carriers seeking 787s. Boeing’s current order book is nearly sold out through 2013, unless the manufacturer decides to increase the production rate.

“We’ve no intention of giving our slots away, which I’ve indicated [to Boeing] today,” says the Qantas CEO.

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