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Old 4th October 2021, 11:00 AM
Greg Hyde Greg Hyde is offline
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Default Qantas launches contest to replace small jets

Qantas launches contest to replace small jets

SYDNEY/BOSTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Qantas Airways (QAN.AX) is in talks with several planemakers over plans to renew its main narrowbody and regional airliner fleets and is expected to formalise the negotiations with a tender announcement within days, industry sources said.

The Australian carrier is studying the Airbus (AIR.PA) A220 and Brazilian Embraer's (EMBR3.SA) E2 to replace a regional fleet of 20 Boeing 717s and 18 Fokker 100s, they added.

Boeing's 737 MAX 7, the smallest member of its best-selling single-aisle family, is also seen as a contender.

In the busiest part of the market, Airbus and Boeing (BA.N) are competing head to head as Qantas also seeks to replace Boeing 737-800s, the oldest of which are nearly 20 years old.

The combined moves could lead to staggered purchases of as many as 100 jets including options, the sources said.

In Boston, where airline executives were gathering for an industry meeting, Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce declined to comment ahead of a virtual news briefing scheduled for Monday. Planemakers Airbus, Boeing and Embraer also declined to comment.

Talks over the influential airline's business have been under way for months, but Qantas is expected to set out its requirements publicly within days as it and other airlines eye potential bargains for jets in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

"We've said for some time that the renewal of our domestic narrowbody fleet is on our agenda," a Qantas spokesperson said.

"It's a long-term proposition and when we have any material updates to provide, we will.

Qantas had initially planned to place an order in 2020 but that was delayed by the pandemic. Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson said in February a tender would be launched this year.

Qantas budget arm Jetstar has 109 A320neo family planes on order, but the start of deliveries has been postponed until at least July 2022 due to the impact of the pandemic.

In a separate contest dubbed 'Project Sunrise,' Qantas selected Airbus over Boeing for jets capable of staging the world's longest commercial flights from Sydney to London, but the plans were delayed by the pandemic.

Joyce said in August that order for A350-family jets would not be revisited until international borders reopened.

Australia said on Friday it would begin a staged opening of international borders next month but only vaccinated citizens and permanent residents would be included and they would be required to quarantine at home for seven days on arrival.

The country has not set a date for opening borders to foreigners.
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Old 5th October 2021, 09:53 AM
Greg Hyde Greg Hyde is offline
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It’s Airbus vs Boeing in Qantas’ order for over 100 new jets

Over 100 new jets for Qantas regional and domestic services from end of 2023
Airbus A320neo vs Boeing 737 MAX to replace Boeing 737-800s
Airbus A220 vs Embraer E-Jet E2 to replace Boeing 717s

Qantas will order up to 100 new jets in a sweeping upgrade of its domestic fleet, with Airbus, Boeing and Embraer all vying for a share of the lucrative and highly prestigious contract.

The airline is seeking to renew its primary Boeing 737 jet workforce along with part of its regional QantasLink fleet, taking advantage of a Covid-driven slump in jet sales to nail down the best price.

Although first deliveries would begin in late 2023, the extensive program – which Qantas has dubbed Project Winton, after the airline's birthplace in outback Queensland – would stretch through to 2034.

"This is a long-term renewal plan with deliveries and payments spread over 10 years, starting in FY23, but the equally long lead time means we need to make these decisions soon," explains Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

In the wake of Covid, Joyce maintains "there aren't many airlines around the world in a position to place orders for new aircraft... we know travel demand will rebound quickly and right now we're in a strong position to secure the best possible deal at very good prices."

Qantas has shortlisted the Airbus A220 and A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and Embraer E-Jet E2 families for its new domestic fleet.

These new-generation aircraft are not only more fuel-efficient than the planes they're replacing, but are generally quieter and boast a modern design aesthetic which places increased focus on the passenger experience.

Based on an order of 100 jets split between the regional and mainline fleets, the prize could be worth around A$14 billion (US$10 billion) at average list prices, although airlines typically see discounts of over 40% off the sticker.

It's a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the winning aircraft manufacturer, but the clock is ticking: Qantas expects to make its final decision by the end of 2021, and place firm orders by mid-2022.

Airbus A320neo vs Boeing 737 MAX

With 75 red-tailed Boeing 737-800s dominating Australian and short-range international routes, this is the main game – and the 'brass ring' prize for Airbus or Boeing as Qantas' workhorse for several decades to come.

Airbus will position its increasingly popular A320neo family – specifically the A320neo and A321neo – against the beleaguered Boeing 737 MAX (with the MAX 7, 8, 9 and 10 all under consideration).

Airbus A220 vs Embraer E-Jet E2

The regional contest – to replace 20 ageing Boeing 717s – will be between the smaller Airbus A220 and the Embraer E2 series.

Joyce was noticeably impressed with the A220 during a Sydney flight in 2019, calling it "a great replacement to the Boeing 717 – not too dissimilar in configuration, but with a lot more overhead bin space, a lot more space in the cabin, even the toilets are big."

"It looks like a very good aircraft, it's very quiet, and I think passengers will love it," he told Executive Traveller.

About the only thing he wasn't keen on was the price, which at the time listed at US$81-US$91.5 million.

"What Airbus has to get right is the pricing, it's priced very high, and for us to buy it it has to be a lot cheaper than the prices we've been seeing."
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Old 5th October 2021, 10:54 AM
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Reece perram Reece perram is offline
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Surely the Max would win over the NEO due to the amount of 737 pilots that would need re-training?
Boeing flown;734,738, 739,753, 772,77W, 789
Airbus flown; 319,320,321,332,333,388
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Old 5th October 2021, 01:06 PM
Yusef D Yusef D is offline
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Surely the Max would win over the NEO due to the amount of 737 pilots that would need re-training?
Not always. Airbus will pitch their deal with that considered. And there are plenty of A320 sims in Australia, don't need a dedicated neo sim, unlike Max.

The Max does require sim training but far less that 737 to A320. And pilots can fly NG and Max on the same roster. Occasionally the offer is good enough to flip.. Look at Air Canada... or Air NZ when they went 737-300 to A320 and stuck with Airbus narrowbodies.
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Old 5th October 2021, 02:36 PM
MarkR MarkR is offline
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Originally Posted by Reece perram View Post
Surely the Max would win over the NEO due to the amount of 737 pilots that would need re-training?
Quicker turnaround of the NEO with ULDs is a factor
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Old 5th October 2021, 03:09 PM
Greg Hyde Greg Hyde is offline
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Not on the list (but certainly in play) is the trade-in of a couple of A380s and acquisition of some A350's
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Old 8th October 2021, 09:58 AM
Greg Hyde Greg Hyde is offline
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Qantas eyes 2024 for non-stop flights from Sydney to London, New York

Qantas says it's on track to begin the world's longest non-stop flights – 18-20 hour marathon treks from Sydney to London, Paris and New York – as early as 2024.

The airline is prepared to finalise its order for an initial fleet of up to 12 ultra-long range Airbus A350-1000 jets in early 2022, two years after the ambitious 'Project Sunrise' program was put on hold in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The inaugural flights of Project Sunrise – named the double sunrises which by passengers and crew would experience on these epic journeys – were originally slated for 2023.

"We'll be picking up where we left off with our direct flights to London and New York as part of Project Sunrise, which we hope will start operating in 2024/25," Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce confirmed this week.

"We were very close to ordering the aircraft just before Covid, so it's great the company is now looking to its future in the decades ahead."
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