Qantas to Retire Boeing Fleet

27th Feb 2014

In a bid to what could be the airline's biggest aircraft reduction plan in its more than 90-year history, Qantas is aiming to retire all of its Boeing fleet by 2016.

All of its Boeing 767s, 737s and most of its jumbo 747s and are either retired already or are scheduled for phase-out this year until 2016 when the airline will operate an all-Airbus fleet by then.

Qantas has been financially in trouble for the last few years prompting the airline to sell some of its non-performing assets among other cost-saving measures just to stay afloat and avoid bankruptcy.

The culling of its Boeing fleet is part of the airline's $2 billion cost-saving campaign in addition to the deferring of its plane orders from the two major aircraft manufacturers.

Old Boeing fleet to go

The old Boeing planes are deemed less cost-efficient to operate so they are the firsts to be put out to pasture. Some of the B747 jumbos were already retired since last year while the remaining non-configured fleet will be completely phased out by 2016.

The airline's fleet of 15 Boeing 767s, meanwhile, will have their swan song before the end of next year. They will be replaced by a fleet of wide-body twin-engine A330 aircraft which are currently utilized by Jetstar, Qantas' wholly-owned subsidiary low-cost airline.

Qantas, however, will keep nine of the configured B747 jumbos in its fleet which it will use mostly on international service.

Order of A380s on hold

The troubled airline has put on hold its orders of more superjumbo jets as a result of the so-called 'fleet simplification', opting to operate a fleet that are fuel-efficient. As a result, its orders of eight A380s will have to be deferred until it deems necessary to take more planes in the future. They are originally set to join Qantas' fleet between 2017 until 2025 until the recent announcement.

With the orders of eight A380s deferred, Qantas will be able to save more than $3.3 billion to add to its balance sheet.

Dreamliners' pending entry

To conserve capital drain, the airline had long canceled its own orders of B787-9 in 2012 while the remaining three of the original 14 firm orders for its subsidiary, Jetstar, has also been put on hold. Jetstar, though, will take delivery of 7 more Dreamliner jets through 2016 to take the place of A330s that it will turn over to its mother unit.