Qantas Talking To Boeing On 777X

April 28, 2016

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Qantas said it will keep its Airbus A380s in service beyond 2020 as it conducts talks with Boeing on its next-generation 777X jets.

"The A380s do a great job on the markets that they operate," said Gareth Evans, head of the company's international business. Qantas currently operates a fleet of 12 A380s.

"They are big units on big thick routes like Los Angeles and London, flying into slot-constrained airports," said Evans. "You want to have a fleet that is simple, but you need to have vehicles that do the right job for you."

With the latest variant of the 777 aircraft not due to enter into service until early next decade, Qantas is in talks with both Boeing and Airbus about their latest aircraft, Evans said.

While an order is not imminent, Evans said, conversations with Boeing revolve around the "scope and capability" of the 777X, which will have two variants, a 777-8 that will have a longer range, and a 777-9 that will be able to carry more passengers but have a slightly shorter range.

"It does look interesting though because of its range capability, said Evans. "When you are an airline that is based in our part of the world, those are things that are important to you, an aircraft that can reach major cities around the world out of Australia is attractive."

In the meantime, exercising additional options for Boeing's 787, beyond the eight that the airline ordered in August 2015, will depend on how the international airline market grows, said Evans.

The 787s will initially be deployed on services to North America and Asia, even though the plane can reach points in Europe non-stop from Perth in Western Australia.

(Reuters)