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Qantas eyes the 737 MAX for fleet renewal plans narrowbody, widebody plane orders in 2022

Qantas Launches New Flights between Melbourne and Exmouth

Qantas has entered the final stages of a formal tender process with aircraft and engine manufacturers for the long-term renewal of its domestic narrow-body fleet.

The program, which has been flagged previously, will see more than 100 new aircraft enter the national carrier’s domestic fleet by 2034, renewing the Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 717s that currently form the backbone of its domestic jet operations.

Deliveries would start from the end of 2023 but the Group would retain significant flexibility to make adjustments depending on market conditions.

The aircraft being considered are the Boeing 737 MAX family and Airbus A320neo family, as well as the smaller Embraer E-Jet E2 family and the Airbus A220.

The tender process includes detailed evaluation of the aircraft against four key criteria: safety, reliability and performance, sustainability and emissions reduction, and commercial terms.

Final decisions on preferred suppliers of aircraft and engines are expected to be made by the end of 2021 followed by firm orders by mid-2022.

Insight behind the World’s Top 20 Airlines 2020 by OAG

OTHER FLEET

The Qantas Group has an existing order for 109 Airbus A320/A321 aircraft, which will predominantly be used to renew Jetstar’s exiting fleet of A320 aircraft. The first neo is due to be delivered in the second half of calendar year 2022 with deliveries through to end of the decade.

Three additional 787-9 Dreamliner’s for Qantas International will be delivered from FY23 onwards.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Current fleet

Boeing 737-800

  • 75 aircraft in the fleet
  • 174 seats – 12 Business, 162 Economy
  • Current fleet age is between 7 to 19 years old
  • 4,800km range
  • Operated on routes ranging from Melbourne-Sydney to Brisbane-Perth
  • CFM engines

The B737-800s have been the workhorse of Qantas’ domestic operation for the past 20 years, with fantastic reliability and a product that customers love. The most recent aircraft arrived in 2014 so the 737-800 will continue to fly for Qantas well into the next decade.

Boeing 717

  • 20 aircraft in the fleet (mix of two and single class)
  • Two configurations:
    • Dual class with 110 seats – 12 Business, 98 Economy
    • Single class with 125 Economy seats
  • Current fleet age is from 15 to 22 years old
  • 2,408km range
  • Operated on routes such as Brisbane-Canberra and Hobart-Melbourne
  • Rolls Royce Deutschland BR-715 engines

The B717s have provided Qantas with the flexibility to service many segments of the domestic market, including regional routes, fly in fly out operations or more frequencies to capital cities.

THE GULFSTREAM G700 SETS INTERNATIONAL CITY-PAIR SPEED RECORDS FOR THE FIRST TIME.

 AIRCRAFT BEING EVALUATED

 Note: Aircraft information has been sourced from manufacturers’ websites. Specifications are indicative only and not reflective of the specifications of any potential aircraft order by Qantas.

Boeing 737 MAX family

  • Consists of the MAX 7, MAX 8, MAX 9 and MAX 10
  • Seats range from 138 to 204 seats for two-class configurations
  • 6,100km to 7,130km range
  • Reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by 14 per cent compared to the 737-800NG
  • 40 per cent quieter than the 737-800NG
  • CFM International LEAP-1B engines

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Airbus A320 family

  • Includes the Airbus A320neo and A321neo
  • A320neo seats – from 150 to 180 for a two-class configuration. 6,300km range
  • A321neo seats – from 180 to 220 for a two-class configuration. 7,400km range
  • The A320neo family offers fuel improvements of 14 per cent from A320ceos
  • 50 per cent quieter than the A320ceos
  • Two engine options-Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1100G and CFM International LEAP-1A

Airbus A220

  • Specifically designed for the 100-150 seat market
  • 25 per cent lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation aircraft, half the noise footprint, and decreased emissions
  • Up to 6,390km range
  • Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1500G engines

Embraer E-Jet E2 family

  • E190-E2 seats up to 114 for a single-class configuration. Range is 5,278km
  • E195-E2 seats up to 146 for a single-class configuration. Range is 4,815km
  • Achieves double digit lower fuel consumption compared to current-generation Embraer jets
  • Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1700G engines

He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Aerospace

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan is embarking on an ambitious endeavor to bolster its air defense capabilities with the acquisition and potential local production of the Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet.

Talks are reportedly underway between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the developer of the FC-31, signaling a significant leap forward for Pakistan’s military aviation prowess.

The FC-31, a mid-sized, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter, promises advanced air combat capabilities, including stealth technology that surpasses anything currently in the PAF‘s fleet. With plans to retire the JF-17 production line by 2030, the FC-31 could emerge as the new flagship aircraft, offering unmatched performance and versatility.

Experts speculate that Pakistan’s interest in the FC-31 could also signal broader implications for the international market. As China develops both land and carrier versions of the FC-31, analysts foresee it becoming a cost-effective alternative to pricier options like the F-35, potentially challenging the dominance of the US aerospace industry and reshaping global strategic rivalries.

Adding complexity to the deal is China’s push for the WS-13 engine, previously rejected for the JF-17 but now under consideration for both the FC-31 and future JF-17 variants. Engine standardization could streamline logistical and maintenance processes for the PAF, further enhancing the appeal of the FC-31.

While negotiations continue, the success of the FC-31 acquisition and local production hinges on several factors, including the outcome of the WS-13 engine discussions. Pakistan’s pursuit of the FC-31 comes amidst its eagerness to replace its aging fleet, with previous attempts to upgrade its F-16s by the United States due to geopolitical pressures.

Amidst these developments, Pakistan previous interest in the Turkish-made Kaan fifth-generation fighter underscores its eagerness to replace its aging fleet. Despite previous attempts to secure upgrades for its F-16s from the United States, Pakistan’s quest for advanced aerial capabilities has led it to explore alternative avenues, with the FC-31 emerging as a promising contender in its pursuit of air superiority.

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Aviation

China’s Indigenous HH-100 UAS Successfully Completes First Flight

China’s Indigenous HH-100 UAS Successfully Completes First Flight

In a significant milestone for China’s aviation industry, the HH-100 aerial commercial unmanned transportation system successfully completed its maiden flight, as announced by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) on Wednesday.

The HH-100 demonstrator took to the skies for its inaugural flight at a general aviation airport in Xi’an, located in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. This successful test was conducted by AVIC, China’s leading aircraft manufacturer, marking a pivotal step in the development of the country’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities.

Developed independently by AVIC XAC Commercial Aircraft Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of AVIC based in Xi’an, the HH-100 consists of two main components: an unmanned aerial vehicle and a ground-based command-and-control station. This innovative system is designed to offer a cost-effective, high-payload solution for various transportation and logistical needs.

The HH-100 is notable for its low cost and large tonnage capabilities. With a designed maximum take-off weight of 2,000 kilograms and a payload capacity of 700 kilograms, it can transport approximately 4 cubic meters of cargo over a range of 520 kilometers. The drone’s maximum cruise speed is 300 kilometers per hour, and it can operate at altitudes up to 5,000 meters.

Primarily intended for feeder logistics, the HH-100 is also equipped to participate in a variety of other roles, including forest and grassland firefighting, fire monitoring, transportation and delivery of rescue materials, relay communication, and artificial rain enhancement. This versatility makes it a valuable asset in both commercial and emergency response operations.

Looking ahead, AVIC plans to develop a series of products based on the HH-100 platform, with models capable of carrying 5 tons, 10 tons, and even larger payloads. These future developments aim to meet the growing demand for large-scale, intelligent, low-cost, and highly reliable unmanned cargo planes.

The HH-100’s successful first flight marks an important achievement for AVIC and China’s aviation sector, showcasing the potential of homegrown technology to advance the country’s capabilities in unmanned aerial transportation. With its impressive range of features and applications, the HH-100 is poised to play a significant role in enhancing air-ground transportation connectivity and addressing various logistical challenges in the region.

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Aviation

Russia’s Venture into Spare Parts Production for Western-Made Jets

Russia's Venture into Spare Parts Production for Western-Made Jets

In a strategic move to mitigate the challenges posed by the shortage of spare parts for foreign-made passenger aircraft, Russian carriers are charting a new course by turning to domestic alternatives. At the forefront of this shift are two groundbreaking projects unveiled at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 6.

Leading the charge is Protektor Group, a prominent Russian MRO provider, which has committed a substantial investment of RUB3.5 billion ($39 million) to establish a cutting-edge facility near Moscow Domodedovo airport.

This facility is slated to specialize in the production of spare parts tailored for Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 narrowbody jets, with operations expected to commence in 2026. With a projected workforce of 800 employees, the facility aims to address the pressing demand for critical components in the aviation sector.

This initiative aligns seamlessly with broader governmental endeavors outlined in June 2022, which envisioned the manufacture of 1,036 airplanes using solely Russian parts by 2030. Bolstering this ambition, the state allocated a substantial sum of 283 billion rubles (U.S. $3.1 billion) in January 2024 to propel the production of 609 aircraft, with a particular emphasis on medium-haul models.

Protektor’s trajectory towards this pivotal milestone has been marked by notable achievements, including receiving production organization approval from Rosaviatsia in 2024. Prior to this, the company had earned certification for the overhaul of landing gear for Boeing 737s, solidifying its position as a trusted entity in aircraft maintenance.

Beyond the realm of spare parts production, the Russian aviation industry is poised for a significant transformation as it gears up to redefine its identity. Sergey Chemezov, the head of Rostec, the state-owned conglomerate overseeing aerospace, engineering, and defense sectors, has unveiled ambitious plans to resurrect the renowned ‘Yakovlev‘ brand. This rebranding initiative extends across the spectrum of Russian-made airliners, signaling a new era of innovation and prominence.

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