Qantas CEO: no plans to buy more Airbus A380s

By Chris Chamberlin, August 5 2016

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the airline has no plans to buy any more Airbus A380s, including the eight superjumbos still listed on the order books at Airbus HQ.

The Flying Kangaroo currently runs twelve of the double-deck jets on flagship routes to Los Angeles, Dallas and London, with the final eight initially announced in 2006 as "firm orders" by then-CEO Geoff Dixon, with deliveries through to 2015.

Qantas has repeatedly hit pause on that schedule, however, with Joyce now confirming he sees no place for the remaining eight superjumbos in the network.

Speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Summit 2016, Joyce said that Qantas is “continually pushing those aircraft (deliveries) out, so our intention is that we’re not taking those aircraft.”

“We have 12 aircraft and the 12 aircraft we have are fantastic aircraft and actually serve the missions we have,” Joyce continues.

“We believe there’s a network for 12: it’s very good and it works very well. We struggle with a network for the next eight, so that’s why we keep pushing them back.”

While the orders haven't been cancelled outright, Joyce says they'll sit on the books for at least the next 10 years but the airline won't make good on them, instead preferring to “keep on pushing them out”.

After the A380...

Qantas is now considering both the Boeing 777X and the ultra-long range Airbus A350-900ULR for its post-2020 fleet, especially as the airline begins to redraw its network map around non-stop flights of 16+ hours.

Earlier this year Joyce said he was "absolutely" looking at the A350-900ULR, which Singapore Airlines will begin flying in 2018 to relaunch non-stop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York.

Also read: Can Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 redefine long-range flying?

"You always look at all the options out there to make sure you're picking the one with the right economics" Joyce said, stacking the long-legged A350 against the Boeing 777-8X.

But Boeing is also in the frame, with Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans adding that "we're really interested in aircraft that can fly a very long way, and the 777-8X and 9X are very interesting aeroplanes for us in the long term."

Read more: Qantas considering ultra-long range Airbus A350-900ULR

Four engines vs two engines

Even so, some routes in the Qantas network – particularly Sydney-Johannesburg – require four-engined aircraft due to safety requirements, potentially demanding something more than the Boeing 787s Qantas currently has on order.

With its Boeing 747s set for retirement and no plans to firm-up the remaining A380s, Australian Business Traveller asked Joyce if its Southern Hemisphere routes remained part of Qantas’ long-term plan.

“Johannesburg and South America are particularly important markets for us,” Joyce imparts, “but we have some very, very young 747s which we took in the mid-2000s.”

“We recently put new product on them, and our intention is that those aircraft are going to be in the fleet for some time. There’s no immediate need for us to make a decision for an aircraft replacement in those markets.”

Joyce concludes by hinting that “as the technology on twin engines improves, there will be alternative aircraft” available instead to serve those destinations in the future.

Also read: Qantas to fly first Boeing 787 in October 2017

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ChrisCh
ChrisCh

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

aldrigsomandre

aldrigsomandre

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2015

Total posts 126

Does this mean that the CASA won't allow 2-engine operations to South America or Africa anytime soon?

johnaboxall

johnaboxall

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 725

2-engine to Africa is possible, VA used to fly their 777 to JNB... however they didn't have the right ETOPS rating [?] so the extra flight time staying closer to possible landing zones killed it.

cdinoz

cdinoz

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 132

Sounds like it. The FAA and the EASA  gave the A350 a 370 minute etops rating... If CASA followed suit, the A350 could easily do SYD to JNB. 

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1373

LAN has been operating its 787 using ETOPS330 on Sth America to NZ for some time now. I suspect this puts some pressure on CASA to allow QF to do the same

turbojezz

turbojezz

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 125

while this makes me sad that there will be no more A380s for qantas (and therefore most likely no more first class) this is also good cause the 747s will hang around a bit longer :) they are still beatifuul to watch fly :)

F-Flyer

F-Flyer

11 Aug 2015

Total posts 23

They might be beautiful to look at but they are certainly not beautiful to fly in.

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 522

Couldn't QANTAS put first class seats in whatever they eventually replace the A380 with? QANTAS will presumably be using the A380s they already have for some time yet.

Mark Waite

Mark Waite

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jul 2015

Total posts 8

Interesting.

So the ULRs will (supposedly) be filling new routes, the surviving 747s the southern ocean routes - what was AJ's response when you asked what was happening to the current 747 routes which are neither, eg BNE-LAX, LAX-JFK etc etc?

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 914

BNE-LAX-JFK, SYD-SFO, SYD-YVR and maybe SYD-HKG and SYD-HND are likely to be the first 747 routes to be replaced with 787s.

deany83

deany83

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 133

Is there a financial impact of not taking the remaining orders? 

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

Deany,

There will be, but by pushing it back ten years to 2025 they can renegotiate another deal with Airbus and keep the door open if there is an A380NEO to replace the current dozen. It would be silly not to keep that door ajar. The focus seems to be long distance trips with fewer intermediate stops. There wll however still be a need for big aircraft to slot constrained airports like Heathrow and also to use hubs like Dubai.

By 2025 there should answer to a lot of these issues (new runways Heathrow, Sydney, Dubai and HK) and then  sensible decisions can be made. In the interim the 787-9 and 787-10 can replace a lot of current capacity and the newer 747s will be be around until then (2025) and from 2020 or so we might see A359ULR or 777-8 coming into play for non stop New York and possibly LHR. Then in 2025  they will think about 777-9 A350-1000 or A380NEO for the big capacity trunk routes such as LA and LHR. A lot of water under the bridge before that happens.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 914

QF has 8 confirmed orders and 4 options for A380s.

If QF outright cancels them, they may own Airbus some $$. If Airbus keeps the program going and brings out a A380NEO in a few years, then QF might take them to replace the current 12. They could be converted into other Airbus products.

The question is what happens if Airbus ends the 380 program while these orders are still on the books. Would QF be forced to cancel or convert? Would QF have to pay a penalty in such a case, or would Airbus owe QF a penalty instead.

FLX1

FLX1

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@ deany83:

IMHO, little financial impact if any at all.  Many folks seem to hv forgotten that a decade ago, all 380 x12 delivered to QF were delayed due to Airbus issues...it was Airbus which incurred $ penalty initially.  This could partially be in the form of large % of deposit for the whole deal(380 x20 firm order) refunded by Airbus to QF.  Whatever remaining as deposit by QF for the outstanding 380 x8 may be insignificant.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 914

It isn't that the twin aircraft aren't safe for the southern routes, it's that CASA won't approve the ETOPS needed to run those routes effectively with twins. The twin aircraft flying today have the needed ETOPS type ratings from every other major regulator, but if CASA refuses to give QF and VA the needed operator rating, there is no point their trying to operate twins on those routes.

When VA operated MEL-JNB, they couldn't take the "short cut" across the southern ocean that QF and SA could and had to route north to stay within 180 mins (on one engine) of airfields such as Diego Garcia, adding almost 3 hours to the flight time.

bl812

bl812

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 174

seems this bird hardly makes any profit-airbus will be lucky to get even on this project.it's a shame as it's a good plane comparing to the 747

the only orders are the current ones for emirates when they finish ordering that will be the death of this beauty.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 914

There are 4 complete/near complete A380s stored at TLS. 2 of which were meant for Skymark. It appears those 2 are being converted to go to EK.

There are currently 126 outstanding confirmed orders. 81 are for EK.

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

Cathay Pacific is sitting back laughing. The question back then is why Cathay has not bought A380s. It seems Airbus has overcooked the case for capacity-heavy point to point. It risks being overly reliant on Emirates to fill its A380 order book.

What will happen to the investment in terminals around the world? And those airlines with A380; it seems like the resale market for second-hand A380 will be quite tepid. Would airlines like SQ simply have to write these off? Implications for shareholders?

Dont get me wrong. A380 is a lovely aircraft. But perhaps the market has realised the optimal operating cost and capacity/frequency ratio?

FLX1

FLX1

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@ TheRealBabushka:

"Dont get me wrong. A380 is a lovely aircraft."

So was the Concorde.  Despite being dead for so long, I bet U Concorde lovers/admirers worldwide today still out-number 380 lovers/admirers.

But no matter how lovely as an aircraft, the biz case/financial justifications for the Concorde program is still worse than iffy. 

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

Babushka,

Likewise the 779 is reliant on EK as well with it holding half the orders. The 779 isn't exactly going our the door either with just 253 orders and none for the past two years. Likewise the A350-1000 with only 200.  The sweetspot seems to be 300 seats and not 400. But things may change in the next five years, and larger planes come into the frame.  QF have some good options for the next fleet type (circa 2022) and should bb able to squeeze a good price.

ausdt

ausdt

27 Aug 2013

Total posts 22

I would say my six month old son is "very, very young". I would not say the 13 and 14 year old B747s delivered in 2002 and 2003 are "very, very young".

GregXL

GregXL

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 390

Maybe he should have said that the youngest one is only half the age of the oldest 747 in the QF fleet!   I thought it was a stretch to describe 2002 as mid-2000s.  Irrespective, all 9 of the refurbs have a lot of years left in them.  I think they will end up keeping them all until they add a long range aircraft that fits between the 787-9 and the A380.  

zoomzoom

zoomzoom

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

And just wait until they have to take the write down hit on those 12.....I bet AJ departs before that is necessary.

 

Should have bought the 777 boys.


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