Qantas Airways Ltd. ordered dozens more long-range Boeing Co. and Airbus SE jets in a bid to keep pace with a post-pandemic travel boom that’s delivering record profits.
(Bloomberg) — Qantas Airways Ltd. ordered dozens more long-range Boeing Co. and Airbus SE jets in a bid to keep pace with a post-pandemic travel boom that’s delivering record profits.
Qantas is buying 12 Boeing 787s and 12 Airbus A350s to replace the bulk of its aging fleet of Airbus A330s. The Australian airline also has options, evenly split between the two manufacturers, to buy more of the aircraft over the next decade and beyond, it said in a statement Thursday.
The order marks the airline’s third major plane purchase in less than two years. Qantas will replace its 10 A380s with A350s from about 2032 onwards, it said in the statement.
The plane purchases add to a sales surge at rivals Boeing and Airbus. Airlines from India’s IndiGo to Ryanair Holdings Plc in Europe are lining up aircraft deliveries stretching into the next decade as an insatiable appetite for international flights collides with a shortage of new planes.
While fares may have peaked, Qantas said there’s little sign that cost-of-living pressures are eating into budgets.
“Fundamentally, travel demand is extremely robust,” said outgoing Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce, announcing his last set of results before he hands over in November to Vanessa Hudson, the airline’s current finance chief. “We can afford to invest and grow – especially in new aircraft – while still delivering returns to shareholders.”
Qantas announced the aircraft purchase as it reported record annual profit of A$2.47 billion ($1.6 billion), compared to a loss a year earlier. It also announced a stock buyback of as much as A$500 million.
For more details from the earnings report, click here
While Qantas was known to be weighing up a replacement for its A330s — a key aircraft on the airline’s pan-Asian routes — Thursday’s order was announced months earlier than expected. In the current market, airlines that hold back on plane orders risk adding years to delivery dates, if they can secure them at all.
The waitlist is already years-long for the most popular jets made by Boeing and Airbus. Joyce told investors earlier this year that the two planemakers were “essentially full” for most of this decade.
The rush to lock in new long-range planes has brought an unprecedented flurry of orders at Qantas.
In late 2021, it unveiled a multibillion dollar deal with Airbus to replace its short-range Boeing domestic workhorses. Months later, Qantas ordered a dozen ultra-long-range Airbus A350-1000s for direct flights connecting Australia’s east coast with New York and London that are due to start in late 2025.
Read More: Qantas Revives Plan for World’s Longest Direct Flights
All told, Australia’s largest carrier is due to receive a new aircraft every three weeks for the next three years.
Qantas’ latest order offers some relief for Boeing, but the 787 Dreamliner remains the main toehold for the US company as the Australian airline bets its future primarily on France’s Airbus.
(Adds detail on aircraft order in second paragraph, comments from CEO Joyce in sixth paragraph.)
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