AeroAnalysis has published a first part of a study on the international fleet of Qantas. In 2000 the Australian carrier preferred the Boeing 747-400ER and Airbus A380 order over the Boeing 777. At that time the extended (ER) and long range (LR) models of the Boeing 777 were not yet available and management failed to revert its decision once these variants became availabe.
While the industry showed a strong preference for the Boeing 777, Qantas remained committed to the orders it placed with Airbus and Boeing.
As the Airbus A380 poses some severe constraints on profitable operation and the Boeing 747-400s are nearing their end of viable life, Qantas is now looking into new aircraft.
Based on a first assessment AeroAnalysis concluded the following:
One of the most important things in the decision making process for Qantas is an aircraft’s ability to open up new city-pairs without a stop. Currently Dubai is used as an intermediate stop on routes to Europe and Los Angeles serves as an intermediate stop for flights to New York. A smaller airframe with better range capability would allow Qantas to operate flights to North America not limited to the West Coast. At the moment Qantas operates flights to Dallas Forth Worth, one of the longest flights in the world, via codeshare agreements with American Airlines it serves destinations in North America. Operations to the European mainland could be served on a non-stop basis. Currently Qantas is connected to the European mainland by a single flight to London which makes an intermediate stop in Dubai and codeshare agreements with Emirates.
The 787-9 can be used on routes where lower capacity is required. It can easily operate flights to Asia and North America. The Airbus A350-900, its long range variant and the A350-1000 can operate on routes where a higher capacity is required. While on the busier routes that are slot constrained the Boeing 777X seems a perfect candidate. So all 3 aircraft families can be deployed on particular routes, but it is unlikely that Qantas will order them all.
For now, AeroAnalysis thinks the 3 variants that have highest chances to strengthen the fleet are the Boeing 787-9, Airbus A350-900ULR and Boeing 777-8. I see very little chances for an order for the Airbus A350-1000, the Airbus A350-1100, Boeing 777-9 and Boeing 777-10X.