& Mary Kirby

Australia’s Qantas Airways is to stick with Rolls-Royce as the supplier of engines for the eight additional Airbus A380s it has agreed to order.

Qantas Airways has firmed eight of its 12 A380 options, bringing to 20 the Australian carrier’s total order for the type.

The Oneworld alliance carrier confirms from Sydney that like the initial 12 A380s the airline ordered in 2000, the eight additional aircraft will be powered by R-R Trent 900 engines.

The order for more A380s represents the conversion of eight of the 12 options Qantas holds and it lifts to 20 the number of firm commitments it now has for the ultra-large type.

As with other early customers, deliveries of Qantas’s A380s are badly delayed and its first is now due in August 2008, rather than the second half of 2006 as originally planned. Its A380 deliveries, including those of the eight additional examples, are due to continue through 2015.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon in a statement issued today says the carrier: “negotiated an attractive ‘package’ to firm up” the additional A380s.

The order “was made after an extensive review of the recent problems at Airbus and the delivery schedule delays of the A380”, he says, adding: “We are convinced that these problems relate to industrialization issues at Airbus and will be remedied, and in no way relate to the technical capacity of the A380.”

Terms of the new contract with Airbus provide Qantas with protection against any further delay in the A380 delivery schedule and slide rights in the event of changed circumstances.

Deliveries are currently scheduled from August 2008 through to 2015.

Qantas in November 2000 announced orders for 12 A380s, and under original plans should already have taken delivery of the first aircraft. The carrier in August revealed it is to receive more than A$100 million ($76 million) in damages from Airbus for delays in delivery of the ultra-large widebodies.

At that time, the carrier also revealed it is acquiring four more A330-200s for delivery between December 2007 and December 2008.

These four A330s “will help Qantas mitigate capacity concerns associated with the delay of the airline’s first A380s”, says Dixon.

When the A380 deliveries commence, the aircraft will be deployed on dense long-haul routes to the UK, the USA, continental Europe and possibly the Middle East, he adds.

In parallel with its A380 order, Qantas has a standing contract with Boeing for the supply from 2008 of up to 115 787 aircraft. Qantas says the airline is still assessing powerplant options for the 787s it has on order for delivery from 2008. Qantas announced the order late last year and aircraft will be operated by the mainline carrier as well as subsidiary Jetstar.

“The Boeing 787 and the Airbus A380 both have up to 20% lower operating costs than existing aircraft and will form the nucleus of the fleets out to 2015 for Qantas and our low-cost airline Jetstar,” says Dixon.

He notes that a combination of outright purchase and operating leases will be used to acquire the types, and that “all the costs of these new aircraft will be met by operating cash flows”.

Qantas also unveiled plans to acquire five more Boeing 737-800 aircraft for delivery from February 2008. “The Boeing 737-800s will be used along with our existing 33 737-800s in Australian domestic operations and will replace older 737-400s,” says Dixon.

He says the 737-400s “will be sold, redeployed or converted to dedicated freighter aircraft”.

For more news about Airbus A380 orders and deliveries please visit our A380 page

Source: FlightGlobal.com