Airbus announces that Qantas Airways Ltd. has selected the Airbus A320 to launch a new premium-service airline to operate routes between Australia and the Asian region.
In addition, says Airbus, Qantas Group subsidiary Jetstar Airways has selected the Airbus A320 to continue its growth in Australia and Asia.
Qantas Group’s commitment to order a minimum of 106 A320-family aircraft includes 78 A320neo jets. The deal also includes options and purchase rights on another 194 A320-family aircraft, which could bring the Qantas Group’s total Airbus single-aisle buy from the new deal to 300 aircraft.
Airbus also says that, in parallel with its new A320-family order, Qantas Airways has decided to “adapt” deliveries of the last six of its 20 A380s to the airline’s new business plan. This affects deliveries after 2013. According to reports from Sydney, the word “adapt” in the context of Qantas’ new business plan refers to a decision by the airline to defer deliveries of the six A380s by up to six years.
At present, Qantas’ A380 fleet stands at 10 aircraft, making the carrier the third-largest A380 operator worldwide.
Airbus also says the decision to select Airbus aircraft for its short-to-medium-haul operations underpins Qantas’ long-term strategy to build up a fleet of the world’s most fuel-efficient and reliable aircraft.
“We are delighted to be investing in Airbus’ fuel-efficient A320 family, including the new A320neo, as part of Qantas’ international transformation plan and Jetstar’s pan-Asian expansion.” says Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO. “The A320 family’s outstanding operational efficiency and comfort, paired with its environmental credentials, make it the right choice for Qantas.”
“Qantas is an exceptionally forward-looking and pioneering airline and we are delighted to play such a significant role in the company’s future strategy.” says John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer, customers. “In a fiercely competitive market this is a great endorsement for our eco-efficient A320neo and A320 aircraft with their unique passenger appeal thanks to their wider cabin.”
The A320neo is a new engine option for the A320 family and is due to enter service in 2015. It incorporates either of two latest-generation engines (the engine type to be selected by the customer) and large “Sharklet” wing tip devices, which together will deliver 15 per cent in fuel and CO2 emission savings, according to Airbus.
Airbus A320-family orders to date already exceed 7,800 and to date more than 4,700 A320-family jets have been delivered to more than 330 customers and operators worldwide.
According to Airbus, the A320neo family will have airframe commonality of more than 95 per cent with the existing A320 models while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometres) more range or two tonnes more payload. It is offered with either CFM International’s LEAP-X or Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G engine, the PW1100G being the lead development engine for the A320neo family.
Qantas will make its engine decision at a later date, Airbus says.
Airbus has received orders and commitments for more than 1,200 A320neo-family aircraft since the launch of the family nine months ago, in December 2010.