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Qantas orders up to 188 narrowbodies

Australia’s Qantas Airways is to acquire up to 188 more narrowbody Airbus and Boeing aircraft through lease and purchase arrangements.

The Oneworld alliance carrier says the aircraft will be used “to support the further growth of its two brands, Qantas and Jetstar, in Australia and Asia”.

It says it will acquire 68 Airbus A320s and A321s and take 40 options and purchase rights. It will also order 31 Boeing 737-800s and take 49 options and purchase rights.

“The firm aircraft will be delivered over a six-year period, while options secured additional delivery slots through to 2017,” it says, adding that A321 deliveries will begin in early 2008 and 737 deliveries will start early in 2009.

Qantas is an existing operator of 737-800s, which it uses on mainline domestic routes, while low-cost subsidiary Jetstar operates A320s on domestic and short-haul international routes. It does not currently operate A321s.

A Jetstar spokesman says 50 of the 68 firm-ordered Airbus aircraft will be purchased and 18 will be leased. As with its 23 existing A320s, the additional aircraft will be powered by International Aero Engines V2500s.

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