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Qantas Will Begin Retiring its A380 Superjumbos in Eight Years

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The Australian flag carrier Qantas announced on Thursday that it will begin retiring its fleet of double-deck Airbus A380 superjumbos in just over eight years as it takes delivery of modern, much more fuel-efficient Airbus A350 aircraft.

After confirming that it had agreements with Airbus and Boeing for 24 new widebody aircraft that will also be used to replace the airline’s aging A330 fleet, Qantas announced the retirement schedule for its ten superjumbos.

The multi-billion-dollar deal includes a firm order for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, eight Boeing 787-10 aircraft, and four Boeing 787-9 aircraft. To replace its A380 fleet starting in 2032, the airline has also negotiated additional purchase rights options.

“This is another multi-billion dollar investment in the national carrier and it’s great news for our customers and our people,” commented outgoing Qantas CEO alan Joyce.

“It’s in addition to the 149 firm aircraft we still have on order to continue renewing the domestic fleet for Qantas and Jetstar, and for the non-stop Project Sunrise flights to London and New York.”

The new aircraft, which are being described as a “generational” decision for the company, won’t actually begin to be delivered until the end of 2027 at the earliest and will initially be used to replace Qantas’ fleet of A330 planes, which will be 21 years old by then.

Some domestic flights, as well as those to Asia and a few US cities, are operated by the A330 fleet. Prior to being replaced, these aircraft will receive a cabin refit in 2025 that will include next-generation Economy Class seats.

‘Project Fysh’ (named in honor of Sir Hudson Fysh, who co-founded the airline) was born out of Project Sunrise, which will enable Qantas to run non-stop flights between Sydney and London, Paris, and New York, according to Vanessa Hudson, who is expected to succeed Joyce in November.

While the first two QantasLink A220 aircraft, which are a part of the airline’s domestic fleet renewal, will go into service by the end of the year, the first of 12 specially modified Project Sunrise A350s will begin serving Qantas beginning in 2026.

However, subsequent A220 deliveries will be up to four months behind schedule due to ongoing supply chain issues.

“Our ability to afford these aircraft comes from years of restructuring and strengthening our balance sheet and our confidence about the future,” Hudson said on Thursday.

“Our entire fleet plan has a lot of flexibility built into it, so we can slow down deliveries or, within reason, bring them forward depending on the broader market.”

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