- The carrier will receive its first Boeing 787 next year
- Qantas is considering other routes using the Dreamliner
Qantas Airways Ltd. plans to unveil its first route using Boeing Co.’s 787 at the end of this year and is considering a direct London-Perth link that would rank among the world’s longest flights.
The carrier, set to receive its first 787 next year, will carry on deferring deliveries of its remaining eight A380s ordered from Airbus Group SE, Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said Friday at the CAPA aviation conference in Brisbane.
The range and fuel economy of the 787, also known as the Dreamliner, presents options for direct destinations that were formerly out of reach for Qantas. On Australia’s eastern seaboard, other possible routes for the aircraft include Brisbane to the U.S., Melbourne to Dallas or Sydney to Chicago, Joyce said.
“There are plenty of different options,” he said.
Installing the right infrastructure for 787 passengers in Australia is key, Joyce said. The carrier is in talks with airport officials in state capitals about what’s required to support new Dreamliner routes.
The London-Perth connection would rival the current longest flight in the world -- Emirates’ Dubai-to-Auckland link, which is scheduled to switch to using the A380 from Oct. 30.
Qantas shares were unchanged at A$3.14 as of 11:56 a.m. in Sydney trading. The stock has fallen 23 percent in 2016, after gains in the past two years.
Analysts expect Qantas to post record full-year net income of A$1.13 billion ($864 million), based on the average of six estimates compiled by Bloomberg, when it reports earnings on Aug. 24. The company returned to profit last year after a record loss in 2014.
Qantas made two capital returns totaling more than A$1 billion combined in the past year as its balance sheet improved. Joyce said additional payouts will be considered.
“Every period we will look at the ways of doing it that are efficient to the shareholders and meet their requirements,” he said. “And we’ll be looking at that again in August at the board meeting.”
Qantas had A$2.3 billion in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet at the end of 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Asked at the conference how long he planned to stay on as Qantas CEO, Joyce said he was “very happy” to remain and continue the airline’s turnaround. Qantas has cut thousands of jobs and deferred planes as part of a three-year transformation program.