Australia’s Qantas Airways has deferred a decision on a major order for new aircraft for at least a week.
The Oneworld alliance carrier’s board met yesterday to consider orders for as many as 100 long-range widebodies and chief executive Geoff Dixon had hinted that decisions were likely at that time.

Qantas A330

Qantas says in a statement today, however, that no firm decisions were taken and that its board has called a special meeting for 14 December “to further consider its long-term fleet plan”.
Dixon adds: “This meeting is expected to discuss and approve major aircraft purchases, including the new aircraft for Jetstar’s international operations.”
Executives have for months been considering orders for Airbus A340-500/600s or Boeing 777-200LR/300ERs as well as A350s and/or 787s and the airline has said it could commit to as many as 100 orders. Reports have suggested that Boeing is in the lead with its long-range 777 variants over Airbus’ A340 offerings, while the A350/787 competition is considered a much closer race and some reports say Qantas may order both types.
Fleet plans are particularly complicated now as many of the new widebody aircraft will be intended for low-cost carrier Jetstar. Jetstar currently only operates services within Australia as well as to New Zealand using narrowbody aircraft but Qantas’ board yesterday approved a proposal to make it a long-haul international operator by January 2007.
Dixon said at the weekend that the fight for orders between Airbus and Boeing represented “the closest contractual race I have ever seen in my time in the industry”. He added that “the tenders we have got are the best we’ve seen for a rollover case for aircraft in the history of Qantas”.

Source: Flight International