Qantas will look to order Boeing’s 787-9, the larger long-range version of the Dreamliner, once purchase options become available in 2016, while Jetstar will stick with the original 787-8 model.
But the Flying Kangaroo’s 787s will be used only on international routes until the mid-2020s, when Qantas will consider buying further Dreamliners for domestic use.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce confirmed the split fleet at a media briefing in Seattle, ahead of this week’s delivery of the first Jetstar 787.
It's all 8s for Jetstar
Jetstar will be flying 14 Boeing 787-8s by the end of 2015 and will consider more when the Qantas/Jetstar options for up to 50 additional 787s become available starting mid-2017 through to mid-2026.
“There’s potential growth from the 14 but we’d like to keep the 787-8” explained Jayne Hrdlicka, Jetstar Group CEO.
“We will discover through the process of introducing the 787 the economics that will make routes we haven’t been able to fly now viable” Hrdlicka said.
“Once we get the A330s replaced we will be identifying new opportunities for new markets.”
Qantas opts for the 787-9
Meanwhile, Qantas will divvy up their Dreamliner options to take on the stretched 787-9, which can carry more passengers over longer distances.
“The 787-9 is a long-range aircraft which can fly to the US, which can fly to Dallas (and) just about anywhere in Asia, and it's ideal to open up a range of new routes for the Qantas network than we’ve seen before” Alan Joyce told Australian Business Traveller.
"They’ll also replace some of the older aircraft that we have, like the older 747s and the A330-300s."
Joyce also confirmed that Qantas’ international 787s would sport the airline’s new flat bed 'business suite', set to debut late next year on its Airbus A330s, along with premium economy and new economy seats.
However, Joyce said that the 787 wouldn’t be seen on Qantas domestic routes until well into the next decade as the airline moved to reduce its fleet to just two aircraft types: the Airbus A330 and Boeing 737-800.
“There are no plans to operate 787s domestically” Joyce told Australian Business Traveller.
“We will be keeping our focus on the A330s and 737s on domestic routes, although at some stage we’ll have to make a decision on (how we replace) the A330s, but it’s going to be 10 years in the future.”
Joyce also reiterated that any decision to purchase Boeing 787s for Qantas’ international arm hinged on the airline returning the profitability, which is expected in the 2015-2016 financial year.
“The target that we have is that for FY15 we believe Qantas International should get to break-even, and once that target has been achieved we will make that decision, but we won’t be needing to make a decision until 2016.”
“It’s not like we have to make a decision for the whole 50 at any particular stage” he added, as the purchase rights are spread over a seven year period. “It’s a series of individual decisions coming over a number of years.”
Australian Business Traveller is visiting Seattle as a guest of Qantas and Boeing, and will be on tomorrow's delivery flight of the first Jetstar Boeing 787.
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