Qantas gets ready to replace its A330s

The ageing jets are on the way out, with Airbus and Boeing vying to supply a new mid-size jet for the Flying Kangaroo.

By David Flynn, June 6 2023
Qantas gets ready to replace its A330s

Qantas is going shopping for a new mid-sized jet to replace its ageing Airbus A330s, with Qantas chief financial officer and CEO-designate Vanessa Hudson confirming the call would go out “in the second half of this year.”

Qantas is calling time on all 24 of the red-tailed A330s, which on average are almost 17 years old; Airbus is expected to put forward its next-gen A330neo aircraft as a like-for-like replacement, while Boeing will steer Qantas towards the 787 Dreamliner.

Both manufacturers are however facing a potential log-jam as airlines race to update their fleets, having largely hit the pause button during the pandemic.

“The one thing that we are hearing from speaking to the manufacturers and other airlines is that there is a significant demand for wide-body aircraft and many campaigns coming into the market over the next six months,” Hudson remarked during a media briefing at this week’s International Air Transport Association AGM in Istanbul.

“It's very important that we make sure that we are able to negotiate the best outcome for Qantas, and also reserve the slots which are filling up really quickly,” she added.

Qantas introduced its modern Business Suite with the A330s in 2014.
Qantas introduced its modern Business Suite with the A330s in 2014.

The A330s are arguably the most flexible aircraft in the Qantas fleet, spanning domestic east-west routes along with flights to Asia, India, Hawaii, Seoul and even a trans-Pacific trek between Brisbane and Los Angeles.

The A330s were the launchpad for the Business Suite at the end of 2014 – a modern business class seat that’s since appeared on the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 – with the domestic jets also fitted with fast and free WiFi.

The A330’s replacement will slot into what Qantas calls its ‘right aircraft, right route’ approach.

The A330 and its replacement will span both short-to medium and long range routes.
The A330 and its replacement will span both short-to medium and long range routes.

Under the plan, short to medium-range flights will increasingly be flown by the new Qantas A220 and Qantas A321XLR jets, with the A330-replacement also tagged for selected long-range routes.

Qantas has also earmarked the Boeing 787-9 for future non-stop ‘ultra long haul’ routes to destinations such as Chicago, Seattle and Paris.

An earlier version of this article quoted a report in The Australian that Qantas intended to sell off its Airbus A330s; that report in The Australian was in error, and this article has been revised and updated accordingly.

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 136

can't wait for all narrow body flights on trans-con routes!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

09 Aug 2016

Total posts 31

Running that 330 from BNE to LAX with the crew 'rest area' being cordoned off seats at the back of the main cabin is just embarassing. 


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 391

I've always enjoyed flying on QF's A330s both domestic AU and also to/from Asia (it must be 200+ flights over the years) and my all time favourite destination Hawaii. The gap on these aircraft for me has to be no Premium Economy which I hope they will include on any new replacement aircraft.

I agree, premium economy would be great but it'd only work on real international routes of 6+ hours such as to Asia and Hawaii, so Qantas would need two very different configs, one domestic and one international, which makes the fleet as a whole less flexible, no swapping between domestic and international routes as can be done with the A330s today.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 May 2023

Total posts 2

Would love to see Qantas go with the Boeing 787 or 777-8. I know the 777x is a bit of a curveball, but I think it'd be a good option given Qantas putting its money on Ultra Long-Haul Operations.

Qantas is NOT going to replace the A330 with a Boeing 777. The 777X was in the running for Project Sunrise and lost against the A350 because the A350 was already flying while the 777X was and is still delayed. Ultra-long haul flying will be totally different to A330 flying.


02 May 2016

Total posts 62

Hard to believe they would go with A330neo, have to think either 787-9 or 787-10??

Qantas apparently has a lot of 787 options up its sleeve and at excellent prices because it placed a massive order for something like 50 787s back in the day when the 787 was first announced, so if it pulled the trigger on those options it would be an excellent deal. I think it'd be great to have 787s flying east-west and into Asia etc. Only thing is that Boeing is well behind on 787 manufacture and deliveries but I think Airbus doesn't have nearly as many customers lined up for the A330neo.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 452

I hope they go with new generation a330's.

21 Apr 2017

Total posts 41

Perhaps compelled to go with 330neo given lack of delivery slots for better options? It does seem rather naive to be making comments about demand for widebodies at this point in time. This replacement plan is well overdue - QF’s current a330 offering is a very tired product across the board. 

16 Feb 2017

Total posts 23

Please not the 787 with it's ghastly 9 across seating and those awful electronic window shades :(

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 231

You work think the replacement is already on the books, 787 for flights greater than 8hrs and A321 LR/XLR for all flights up to 7 hours, Perth transcon included.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas gets ready to replace its A330s