Qantas flags Boeing 777X as potential A380 replacement

By David Flynn, June 8 2015

Qantas has flagged the Boeing 777X as a possible replacement for its Airbus A380s when it's eventually time for the superjumbos to be put out to pasture.

While the Flying Kangaroo's short-term focus for renewing its fleet remains on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which would replace older Boeing 747 jumbo jets as well as carve out new routes, the airline is also looking at life beyond the A380.

Read: Qantas pilots back the Boeing 787

Qantas is currently flying 12 superjumbos on flagship routes to London, Los Angeles and Dallas, although it's unlikely to take up the remaining eight aircraft from its original order of 20.

Instead, those dozen double-deckers will be flown until it's time to shop around for a replacement – and the tweaked A380neo version may not be on the cards.

“I think a fleet of 12 works well for us and we will hold onto those planes through their economic life,” Qantas International chief executive Gareth Evans said.

“But when you then look at what point those sorts of aircraft will be coming up for replacement, new technology aeroplanes will be in place by then — 787-9s, A350s, the 777-8X and 9X,” Evans told The Australian overnight at the annual International Air Transport Association meeting in Miami, Florida.

That 'replacement' timeframe is likely to stretch well into the next decade, however – the first Qantas A380 having arrived in 2008, and by comparison the airline has notched up over 15 years flying some Boeing 747s.

Read more: Qantas still on track to buy new planes, says Joyce

The Boeing 777X is the latest addition to Boeing's best-selling 777 family, including the 777-300ER – which many in the industry believe Qantas should have originally ordered in place of the Airbus A380.

Boeing claims the 777X will be "the largest and most efficient twin-engine commercial jet in the world, with the lowest operating cost per seat of any commercial airplane."

First to fly is likely to be the Boeing 777-9X, although the 'X' will be dropped as the plane makes its journey from blueprint to blue skies, to become the 777-9.

The 777-9X is spec'd for 400 passengers in a three-class cabin layout with a peak range nudging past 15,185km (8,200 nautical miles).

By comparison, Qantas' Airbus A380 carries 484 passengers in four classes (first, business, premium economy and economy) and a range of 15,700 km (8,500 nautical miles).

Following the 777-9X will be the 777-8X, which will trim the seat count to 350 passengers but extend the jet's maximum range past 17,220km (9,300 nautical miles).

Read: First Boeing 777X tipped for 2018

Qantas partner and Gulf powerhouse Emirates reportedly plans to upgrade its entire Boeing 777 fleet to the Boeing 777X jet from 2020.

Emirates CEO Tim Clark: "The 8X is the real sweetheart"

Emirates has signed on the dotted line for 35 of the long-range Boeing 777-8X jets and a further 115 of the bigger but shorter-range 777-9X.

"The 8X is the real sweetheart, as it will fly to the other side of the planet with a good payload," Emirates CEO Tim Clark says.

Read: Emirates to replace entire Boeing 777 fleet with 777X jets

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David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Chris2304

Chris2304

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 386

A combination of B787 and B777X fleet for international would be fantastic! When could they order he B777X I mean the earliest A380 will be hitting 15 years old in 2022. How long would Qantas want to keep them for, what would be the most appropriate retirement age for the A380s?

35 B787-9/10

20-25 B7779X/8X

Speedbird

Speedbird

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 273

I think the A350 would be a better aircraft than the B787 family, because you know Qantas would go for the sardine can 3-3-3 config in economy on the B787.

Chris2304

Chris2304

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 386

Is it best for Qantas to order the B777X (if they choose it) asap like next year given the potetially high demand for the plane to allow them to be delivered in the early to mid 2020s?

Speedbird

Speedbird

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 273

"Emirates reportedly plans to upgrade its entire Boeing 777 fleet to the Boeing 777X jet from 2020"

Now let's hope they also upgrade their hideous hard product they have on their current B777's!! I mean who today still has a 2-3-2 configuration in Business Class on long haul aircraft? 

Both Qantas and Virgin Australia's new A330 biz class products really put Emirates to shame.

If it's not on the A380, I won't fly with Emirates.. All their other aircraft are disgusting and definitely NOT up to standard for a so called World Class Airline!!

Jedinak K

Jedinak K

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 211

This is a click bait article. Gareth Evans outlined possibilities for A380 replacements including the Boeing 787-9, Boeing 777X and Airbus A350, he didn't specifically denote the Boeing 777X as the future replacement. We will have to wait and see what develops in the near future but until it's confirmed then it's just speculation.

Speedbird

Speedbird

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 273

Interesting as I didn't think Qantas was interested in the A350 - I think it's a better aircraft against the B787.

Mal

Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Jedinak K, I guess you didn't bother to read the headline of "Qantas flags Boeing 777X as potential A380 replacement". It very clearly says "potential", and later says it's flagged "as a replacement", nobody has said it's THE replacement, not Gareth Evans and certainly not AusBT.

StudiodeKadent

StudiodeKadent

20 May 2015

Total posts 584

I admit I certainly didn't expect this to happen, but it sort of makes sense given Qantas is never going to be an ultra-massive airline by international standards. But with the Emirates alliance, are Qantas really having trouble filling their planes?


The 777-8X will basically allow Qantas to do direct SYD-LHR and direct SYD-JFK services, whilst the 9X will basically have the same capacity (and I think longer range?) as the 747s with lower operating costs.


The only downside I can see is that this will result in quite a bit of fleet inconsistency since the 777X can do 18" Economy at 10-abreast, but the Dreamliner will either be narrower (17.2" at 9-across) or wider (18.5" to 19" at 8-across).


It seems the A380 was certainly too big for Qantas, which is quite sad. If they aren't going to put money into their A380s any more (i.e. upgrade their Business Class product to the Business Suite) then that will damage their Trans-Pacific competitiveness (except on Dreamliner-flown Trans-Pacific crossings), as well as their competitiveness to Europe (since Virgin + Etihad to Europe would have a consistently better product, at least in the premium cabins).

Chris2304

Chris2304

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 386

I still believe Qantas will upgrade the A380s will new business and first and refurbish PE and E. If they keep them to 2025 another 10 years approx I can't see them not touching them for another decade. Also could the B777X or A350 to develop seat consistency may persuade Qantas to do an 8 across 787 for an 18inch economy seat across the international fleet?

brobro

brobro

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

I would not be suprised if Air New Zealand look at the 777X as a possible replacement for their 772's which will be 16 years old by 2022.

Steele

Steele

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Mar 2015

Total posts 19

With the way Qantas International is currently, a conversion of the remaining A380 options (if possible) to the A350 would make sense. With A330's flying domestic and medium-haul international, accompanied with A350's would provide the international arm with technological similarities, helping lower expenses. Then again, with the 787 just recently given the green light by the Pilots, who knows what QF will land at London or Los Angeles with...

Chris2304

Chris2304

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 386

If try were to cancel the A380s and not convert to A350s would they have to pay any cancellation charges? When could they get A350 deliveries if they did convert the A380 orders to 350s?

Chris2304

Chris2304

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 386

It's also a case of would Qantas want a small fleet of A350s if Qantas was a long term fleet plan to simplify the fleet. Like I've said before I think that Qantas would be looking for a 400 seater A350-1100 to replace the A380 and that may available for delivery after the A380s retirement age 15-20 years (2022-2025) and the B777X will be available by that point ( unless there's no huge delays)

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

How about converting orders to more A330s?  The regional version only comes in -300 model, so maybe too much plane for transcon domestic.  What's going to happen to the current QF airbus pilots? convert to boeing? or is it a case of once Airbus, always airbus?.  I don't want to be stuck with 738s for all domestic flying.  An order of 20 A332NEOs to replace its current fleet of A332s, which could also be used on shorter international routes (e.g. once daily SYD-AKL), 787-9s for international Asia flights.  20x 777-9 to cover most 747 and A380 routes and 10x 777-8x to cover their longest routes and maybe start up SYD-YVR, MEL-DFW.

GgFlyer

GgFlyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Mar 2015

Total posts 55

more good news! Qantas should probably hold on to a few a380s just incase some routes don't get etops certified to be flown by the 777x

cdinoz

cdinoz

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 132

Isn't that a reason to buy an Airbus then? Given they seem to have a proclivity in producing airliners that can pretty much do any Etops restricted routes before Boeing?

Isn't one of the selling points of the A350 ??? 

Driveucrazy

Driveucrazy

03 Sep 2014

Total posts 3

Dog eat dog!

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 914

Hopefully by the time the remaining 747s and A380s get retired, CASA will be allowing twin jet ops over the southern oceans.

 

They might keep defuring the remaining 8 A380s to get 380neos and replace the oldest 8 380s in the mid-late 2020s.

I don't see them getting A350s, either new order or converted 380 order, as they want to reduce the types in the fleet.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

I thought it was ICAO that was preventing them?

Driveucrazy

Driveucrazy

03 Sep 2014

Total posts 3

QF partner has A380 market sown up. 

Price war is over QF need to white flag it which was done.

JQ needs to get the kangaroo route via Asia before EK put more routes to AU via Asia like E418-9 into Syd via BKK and other to Mel via KL.

whipper

whipper

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

I think it is a fuphy to suggest the A380 has already been and gone... There are plenty of slot constrained airports that won't allow expansion with smaller aircraft - Heathrow, JFK and even Sydney to name but a few... So this whole 'going smaller' in the face of year-on-year growth in passenger numbers and more demand for landing slots belies the reality. 

Mightyreds

Mightyreds

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 256

So far into the future and with the likely chance of a new board by then, I am sure things will change in the next 5-10 years.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

You say that but then look how long people like Michael O'Leary have been around.  He's been the CEO of Ryanair for 21 years and has worked for them (through Tony Ryan, hence the name Ryanair) since the airline was founded in the 80s.  Of course the board will change but people like Alan Joyce may still be around to make a mess of everything.

Serg

Serg

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Does not matter what other thinking, IMHO A380 is damn ugliest aircraft ever and 777 is way better. IMHO 777 second best looking aircraft after 747. Yep, YMMV

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

A340-500 is orgasmic

RaptorNation158

RaptorNation158

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Air NZ's all black 787-9 looks sick as f*ck I tell you - A380 in EY livery imo is second to 787

Mal

Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

I know this decision is still a LONG way away but it shows that Qantas is thinking ahead, just as it should be and as any business should be.

jetsetter86

jetsetter86

Skywards Gold

21 Apr 2011

Total posts 54

Where is Airbus at with the A380 program? I recall a 1,000 aircraft requirement to break even. Last I read the program was at risk of being cancelled. I've heard Qantas would quite like this to happen as they have a few orders they would prefer to switch to other aircraft.

Fonga

Fonga

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 227

Let's just get the 787-9s introduced to service and bedded down in the network before we start chasing hares. The A380s have decades to run and they serve the legs they are on extremely well. Customers love them and I don't think QF has trouble filling the things. I agree they are plug ugly.

RaptorNation158

RaptorNation158

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

well on runs to LHR (a bit of LAX as well) QF is having problems filling those seats thanks to increased competition and partner in crime Emirates.

djcz

djcz

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Feb 2014

Total posts 144

I might be wrong but wasn't Qantas one of the airlines that helped create the B777 when it first began and decided not to take it up?

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

I too have heard this

Colster

Colster

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 23

They'd better do something. https://twitter.com/AmericanAir/status/608250045289238530

rambler

rambler

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2013

Total posts 23

This reads a bit like a Boeing PR-influenced story to me, as part of an ongoing campaign to denigrate Airbus, but having often flown on both current B777 and A380 across a number of airlines in both biz and cattle classes there is no comparison in general comfort and habitability - the A380 wins hands down. The 777X will have to be a great improvement to compete, but I guess economics is more important than passenger amenity anyway. 

Bra

Bra

QF

11 May 2015

Total posts 23

So emirates CEO Tim Clark says "The 8X is the real sweetheart, as it will fly to the other side of the planet with a good payload" The 8X has a range of 17220 km which will take 19+ hours. I think that there will be lots of air rage for those in Y class in a 3 3 3 layout with maybe 31 in pitch.

I did a few trips from New York non stop to SIN (15350 km) with SQ and to BKK (14000 km) with TG in A340-500s. These flights have been discontinued for many reasons - higher fares, the cost of uplifting the fuel to fly that far etc. The longest flight that I had 18.5 hours EWR-SIN and this was in an all business class configuration with lie flat beds (SQ still have the best business seats in the A380 and B777300 ER) but even so it was not that pleasant.

 I am sure that the 8X and 9X will be excellent aircraft and the costs for ultra long distance flights will be less than those for the A340-500. But over 19 hours in Y class ?- no way for this old traveller no matter what the cost!

 

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

lol to support your rant I think you mean 3-4-3 for EK 777s.

Aussie100

Aussie100

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Mar 2014

Total posts 15

But I love the A380... I hope the oredrs continue... such a great aircraft for passenger comfort!

mancho90

mancho90

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 74

How many of you have flown A350 and 787? Do not said that A350 is much better than 787... A350 is like a Hybrid of A333 and 787... Both has amazing features and similar range, noise levels in the cabin are about the same..actually 787 is a bit less. Windows are bigger in the 787... Both are very good airplanes but if designs counts.. 787 wins because visually has much more balance outside and inside.. they are very similar but windows give more sense of space to the cabin.

 

Skittles06

Skittles06

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 1

Qantas having an all Boeing Fleet will be Awsome and they should place orders fro the 777-9X for 20, 20 for the 787-9 and 70 for the 737MAX-8 to replace the boeing 737NG.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

it would need more than that if they're to replace all those A330s and allow for expansion.  More like 40 789s.


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