Australian flag carrier Qantas has placed a firm order for six additional Boeing 787-9s for its international network operations.
This latest deal will bring the airline’s Dreamliner fleet to 14 by the end of 2020. The arrival of these new aircraft will enable Qantas to accelerate retirement of its last 747s – a type that has been in its fleet (through several different variants) since 1971. The airline said it will also be investing in an additional 787 simulator to assist with the training of more pilots, which will be incorporated into the new Qantas Group Pilot Academy set to open next year.
Alan Joyce, CEO Qantas Group, remarked: “This really is the end of one era and the start of another. The jumbo jet has been the backbone of our international services for more than 40-years and it is fitting that its retirement is going to coincide with our centenary in 2020. The 787 has better economics and a longer range, and its already opening-up new routes like Perth to London (see Airliner World, June 2018). With a larger fleet of Dreamliners, we’ll be looking at new destinations in the Americas, Asia, South Africa and Europe.”
To date, Qantas has taken delivery of four 787-9s with four more examples due to arrive before the end of this year. The six latest orders are due to be handed over between late 2019 and mid-2020 while the ten 747-400s left in service will be steadily retired – the first is set leave in July with the final example due to follow at the end of 2020.
In other Dreamliner-related news, Uzbekistan Airways has finalised an order for a single 787-8. The deal, valued at $239m, increases the number of outstanding commitments the Tashkent-based carrier has for the Boeing type to five, in addition to two examples already in service.