Qantas seeks to put off A350 order until virus crisis blows over

A350-1000s would be used on Qantas’ Project Sunrise flights if it decides to go ahead with the programme
A350-1000, Project sunrise, Qantas

Qantas revealed three months back that the A350-1000 was its preferred jet for Project Sunrise but the idea of placing a firm order for a new fleet of Airbus planes is not an attractive one given the current global travel crisis.

The Australian airline has now asked Airbus to extend the order deadline for up to 12 A350-1000s, according to reports.

Qantas plans to use A350s on its ultra-long-haul Sydney-London programme, dubbed Project Sunrise.

Airbus agreed last year to extend the deadline to confirm delivery slots to the end of March, providing additional time to negotiate an industrial agreement without impacting the planned start date of Project Sunrise flights.

But Qantas’ CEO, Alan Joyce, said he would rather wait for the coronavirus issue to “be out of the way” before placing a firm order for the A350.

Qantas has reduced its capacity by 25% until September and has grounded 38 aircraft, including all but two of its A380s.

In an effort to cut costs, CEO Alan Joyce will not take his salary for the remainder of the financial year and executive management will take a 30% pay cut.

Additional measures to cut costs include a freeze of all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work and asking all employees to take paid or unpaid leave.

“When revenue falls you need to cut costs, and reducing the amount of flying we do is the best way for us to do that,” said Mr Joyce.

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