Qantas is undergoing one of its most extensive fleet updates witnessed in company history, and as such, question marks are present regarding the status of the existing fleet.
Namely regarding the Airbus A330, an essential cornerstone to Qantas’ international and domestic operations throughout history.
While the airline will be acquiring the A350-1000 in the coming years, the plan is to retain the Airbus A330s throughout this period, according to comments from Alan Joyce, the outgoing CEO of the group. This clarifies any confusion that may have been present regarding the timeline for these A330’s departure.
Qantas sees the A350-1000s as an essential piece of the puzzle in fleet growth rather than replacement plans. The more aircraft, the better, and the company thus has a better chance to grow.
The Airbus A330s will eventually depart the airline but will likely stay on longer than initially expected. Sourcing a replacement for the A330s has become a critical topic. The second half of the 2023 calendar year has been touted as the period when Qantas will likely need to decide, especially to secure delivery slots, which can be a battle depending on the type.
The Airbus A330neo and Boeing 787 series will likely be pitted against each other as a replacement. Qantas has largely swung the way of Airbus lately with A321XLRs, A350s, and A220s, among other types, all being ordered.
However, the airline operates a significant portion of 787s, and as such, for fleet commonality, Boeing will push hard to convert the airline to the 787 to replace the A330s. The 787-9 is used for its long-haul fleet. However, the airline has not flown the smallest -8.
While the Airbus A330s will likely be kept on for a more extended period, the plan remains to phase these out in favour of next-generation aircraft to continue taking the Qantas Group forward into the next few decades.