AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL flag carrier, Qantas has announced a series of changes right across its business that includes placing its first order for Airbus A320 Family aircraft and job cuts in its international division. It is also planning to create an as-yet unnamed premium Asian airline, as well as a new Japanese low-cost carrier, Jetstar Japan, in partnership with Japan Airlines (JAL) and Mitsubishi.
Qantas has committed to 110 A320s, 106 are firm orders of which 78 are for the latest variant, the A320neo – the remaining four will be either purchased or leased. In addition, it has a further 194 purchase rights and options, which it says will support fleet renewal and growth over the next ten to 15 years. The first jet is scheduled to be delivered in 2012 and will be allocated to Jetstar Japan. The new low-cost carrier will be launched towards the end of 2012 and will initially operate three A320s.
Qantas is also planning to cut around 1,000 jobs in its international division as it retires older airliners from its fleet and streamlines its route network. Furthermore, it has decided to defer the delivery of its final six A380s by up to six years to help with cost savings. The A380 fleet will reach 12 examples by the end of 2011 and 14 jets by the middle of 2013, with the last six aircraft now scheduled to arrive as it retires the last six of its Boeing 747-400ERs between 2018 and 2021.
Qantas has also announced plans to launch a premium airline based in Asia to take advantage of the growing demand for travel in countries such as India and China. The as-yet unnamed company will not carry the Qantas name, but will be a joint venture operation under its own brand, with “an exciting new look and feel”, the company has confirmed. Qantas has not disclosed who it will be partnering, or where it will be based, but CEO, Alan Joyce says, “We have narrowed down our location options and an announcement will be made in due course when we have completed negotiations.”