On Friday, following a hard fought contest, Airbus has emerged as the leading supplier for jets for Qantas Airways Ltd, which will these jets for ultra-long haul commercial flights between Sydney to London.
With Airbus being selected for supplying up to 12 A350-1000 planes fitted with extra fuel tank for flights of up to 21 hours. With this Airbus has cemented its leadership in the ultra-long haul global market. It comes at a time when Boeing is battling a broad corporate crisis following two incidents of crashes involving its 737 MAX jets; it is also facing delays on its 777X program.
The Qantas flights are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2023, and will be subject to reaching a pay deal with pilots, who would need to extend their flying time to around 23 hours.
A final decision on the order is expected in March, said Qantas.
According to Alan Joyce, Qantas’ Chief Executive, the airline “had a lot of confidence” in the market for non-stop services from Sydney to London and to New York based on two years of flying non-stop from Perth to London, where it has achieved a 30% fare premium over one-stop rivals in premium classes.
“The A350 is a fantastic aircraft and the deal on the table with Airbus gives us the best possible combination of commercial terms, fuel efficiency, operating cost and customer experience,” said Joyce.
Already Singapore Airlines Ltd’s uses an ultra-long range version of the smaller Airbus A350-900 for its 19 hours flight from Singapore to New York.
In a statement, Christian Scherer, Airbus’ Chief Commercial Officer thanked Qantas for its selection .
According to Rico Merkert, a transport professor at the University of Sydney Business School, the A350-1000 fit the Qantas brief well and was the safer choice, given issues surround Boeing, including that of structural cracks in its 737 NGs and a fuselage split in a stress test of its 777-9.
“The A350 just seems to be a much safer bet,” said Merkert. “And safety is at the core of everything that Qantas does including its brand.”
Based on Airbus’ 2018 price list, since it no longer provides list prices for aircraft, the Qantas order could be worth up to $4.4 billion before deep discounts that are standard in the airline industry.
($1 = 1.4736 Australian dollars)