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Qantas holds line on firming 787 options

Qantas has let one of its Boeing 787 options lapse and says remaining options will only be firmed after it has proven the business case for the aircraft.

During the airline’s earnings call, chief executive Alan Joyce says that while Qantas is keen on expanding its 787 fleet, the decision will come after it finalises plans for its remaining 747s.

“We need to prove, and continue to prove, that the 787s are working in Qantas and they are making significant difference to the business,” he adds.

“Our belief is that next year there will be significant improvement, all things being equal, on the international business’s performance because of the 787s and because of the change in network that the 787s facilitate, such as Perth-London.”

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the carrier has two 787-9 options and a further 42 options across all variants after it let the near-term option lapse.

To date, Qantas has taken delivery of three of eight 787-9s on order. The aircraft is now operating on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route, and on select domestic services for crew training.

In March, the carrier will commence its nonstop Perth-London flights with the type, and by the end of the year they will operate on the Brisbane-Los Angeles-New York JFK route.

The eight twinjets will allow Qantas to retire its five oldest 747-400s by the end of the year, but the carrier is planning to retain its six -400ERs in the near-term.

While some of those aircraft could be effectively replaced by 787-9s, their long-range capability will be replaced by either Airbus A350-900ULRs or 777-8s under its ‘Project Sunrise’ programme.

Qantas has indicated that it plans to place an order for one of the ultra-long-range jets in 2019, with delivery around 2022.

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