Qantas plans to announce in the coming days an agreement to acquire new-generation jets to replace the Boeing 717 and Fokker 100 operated by its subsidiary QantasLink, according to Reuters sources.
Among the competitors are the Airbus A220 and the Embraer E195-E2, in addition to the Boeing 737 MAX 7, a larger but less efficient jet than its rivals.
Currently, QantasLink, a division of regional flights, has 20 Boeing 717 and 17 Fokker 100 in its fleet, in addition to 11 A320 and 50 Dash 8 turboprops.
In addition to the order in the regional segment, the Australian airline would also be studying an aircraft to replace the Boeing 737-800, in this case, which are part of Qantas’ own fleet. Boeing, and Airbus are mentioned as in the dispute for this contract.
The deal could reach 100 aircraft, including options, agency sources say.
Qantas has been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic as the Australian government has restricted air traffic in the country, particularly internationally. The company should return to long-haul flights only in November.
Although a deal with Boeing and Airbus seems to be a more concrete possibility, Embraer has at least one favorable factor. Qantas started to carry out several domestic flights with E190 jets from partner Alliance Airlines through operational leasing.
With capacity better suited to current demand, first-generation E-Jets have been used primarily in place of Boeing 737s. Planemakers declined to comment on the possible deal.