The Business Times

Qantas CEO warns against lengthy delays to key Airbus order

Published Thu, Oct 6, 2022 · 07:59 AM

QANTAS Airways chief executive officer Alan Joyce warned against lengthy delays to jetliner deliveries as he prepares to meet with the head of Airbus SE this week for a progress report on key programmes.

Joyce will press Guillaume Faury for certainty around the handover of bespoke A350 jets the Australian carrier has ordered for non-stop flights to Europe and the US, together with a slew of A320s vital to upgrading the short-haul fleet.

The A350s require certification of additional fuel tanks needed for the 20-hour flights, while Airbus is struggling to fulfil ramp up plans for A320-series models amid labour and materials shortages at key suppliers.

“I think every airline would be after certainty on the time-frames,” Joyce said in an interview on Wednesday (Oct 5). If deliveries come “a month later it doesn’t make much difference, if it’s six months or a year, that can make a big difference”.

Joyce said he’s “quite happy” with communications from Airbus and that there’s so far been no indication of any slippage in deliveries.

Qantas signed a contract for 12 A350-1000s this year after its board stood by the Project Sunrise programme as aviation began to emerge from the coronavirus crisis. The planes are slated for delivery from the end of 2025, with three due to arrive each year. The service, priced 30 per cent higher than a two-leg trip, is likely to begin with flights to New York, followed by London, the CEO said.

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The annual Airbus meeting will also include narrow-body programme updates, Joyce said, with Qantas scheduled to take delivery of A320neo, A321LR, A321XLR and A220 models from this year.

Airbus cut its overall 2022 delivery goal along with the pace of the short-term ramp-up in July. BLOOMBERG

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