In a further setback for the Airbus A380, Australia’s Qantas Airways has canceled the order for the remaining eight units of the “superjumbo” of its original order made in 2006. In recent years, company executives have stated that they did not intend these aircraft. Qantas currently operates 12 A380 units.
The remaining eight A380s from Qantas’s order have already been removed from list of orders and deliveries, which now include 79 orders for the world’s largest passenger aircraft. The European manufacturer now has only four customers waiting for new aircraft units: the Amedeo and Air Accord leasing companies and the airlines ANA and Emirates, the model’s biggest customer and also considering canceling part of its order. Last year, the Virgin Atlantic airline had canceled its order for 6 planes.
“Following discussions with Airbus, Qantas has now formalized its decision not to take eight additional A380s that were ordered in 2006,” the airline said in a statement. “These aircraft have not been part of the airline’s fleet and network plans for some time.”
The Australian company, however, said it remains committed to upgrading its A380 jet fleet, due to start later this year. Qantas says modernization is essential to keep aircraft operating in the future. In other words, the company does not yet intend to dispose of the aircraft or reduce the number of units in service, as Singapore Airlines has already done – two aircraft used by the Asian company will be dismantled.
Qantas also remains steadfast in its plan to deactivate the Boeing 747 jets in its fleet, which will be fully replaced by 787-9 models by the end of 2020.
Airbus and Boeing are competing to meet a Qantas requirement for a widebody aircraft with ultra-long range capable of flying from Sydney to London or New York without nonstop.