Qantas will start to decide this year whether to take up its options and purchase rights for as many as 45 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
“We are just taking delivery of the aircraft this year so we really want to see the case working and business case performing the way we expected to,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
“Once we’re comfortable with that, then we will put the order in for further aircraft to replace the (Boeing) 747s.”
According to Reuters, Joyce will let the first of the next 15 options lapse in February and decide on some more in a “few more months”.
The fuel-efficient jets will work in Qantas' favour despite the price of cruide oil more than doubling in the past two years.
“The way our hedging works – it typically puts a cap on our fuel expenditure and allows us to participate if fuel was to fall,” Joyce said in a Bloomberg Television interview Monday in Singapore. “And that’s actually helped us to be quite competitive. We are coping quite well with fuel at the moment.”
The airline reports first-half results on February 22 and has said profit may rise as much as 12 percent. Underlying profit before tax will be between A$900 million and A$950 million in the six months ended December 31, the carrier said in October. That compares with $852 million in the same period a year ago.
Joyce is plowing capacity into Asia, the fastest-growing travel market in the world, partly to tap a flood of Chinese tourists into Australia. He’s also rerouting the airline’s classic Kangaroo Route to London through Singapore instead of the Middle East.
Qantas is preparing to start the first direct service between Australia and Europe when it flies a Boeing Dreamliner from Perth to London in March. That’s a flight of about 17 hours.
Joyce, who led Qantas on a three-year turnaround after axing routes, jobs and costs, has also challenged Boeing and Airbus to make a plane that will allow Qantas to fly from Sydney to London or New York without stopping.