Qantas CEO warns against long delay on their Airbus orders

A rendering of a Qantas Airbus A350 in flight.
Image Credit: Qantas

LONDON – Qantas’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alan Joyce, has warned against massive delays in their key Airbus orders. Alan Joyce is set to press Guillaume Faury, Airbus’ Chief Executive Officer, over the certainty around their bespoken Airbus A350 orders’ handovers.

Awaiting certifications

Just five months ago, Australian flag carrier Qantas (QF), announced a blockbuster order for a total of 100+ Airbus aircraft, in the aims of enhancing their aircraft fleet.

Together with this, Qantas announced their chosen aircraft for the Project Sunrise-project, which ended up on the Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which is the longest of the type, of which Qantas ordered 12.

However, Qantas Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alan Joyce, now warns for major delays in their key Airbus orders, calling out to Airbus CEO, Guillaume Faury for certainty around the handover of the A350-1000 aircraft, which Qantas chose for their Project Sunrise flights, operating from Australia to the U.S. and Europe.

The certification needed before the aircraft can be utilized on such long distances, are for additional fuel tanks which will give the A350-1000 endurance past the 20-hour mark. The certification awaits as Airbus struggles to fullfill ramp up plans for Airbus A320-models due to labor and material shortages at key suppliers for the manufacturer.

In reports from Bloomberg, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said this in an interview: “I think every airline would be after certainty on the time-frames,”

To which he further added: “If deliveries come a month later it doesn’t make much difference, if it’s six months or a year, that can make a big difference.”

Speaking at the World Aviation Fair in Amsterdam, CEO Alan Joyce said that there has been no negative communications with aircraft manufacturer Airbus, and that they are in fact quite happy, as communications are great and there are no current signs of delivery slippages.

Qantas’ large Airbus order

In its 103 years of service, Qantas’ Airbus order marks itself as the largest ever order placed by the carrier, as the order contains a firm order of 52 aircraft, with up to 106 options.

In this order, Qantas will acquire:

  • 12x Airbus A350-1000 ULR
  • 20x Airbus A321XLR
  • 20x Airbus A220-300 (Former Bombardier CS300)

The option of 106 aircraft that Qantas has placed in it’s order, will be spread across the three aircraft types on which the carrier has placed firm orders

Project Sunrise

The A350-1000 order is a deliberate choice by the Australian carrier for their Project Sunrise flights to Australia from America and Europe.

In 2019, Qantas trialled the Project Sunrise project with a non-stop flight from London Heathrow (LHR) to Sydney, Australia (SYD). Completing the research flight was a Boeing 787-9 of Qantas, with weight limitations to maintain endurance for the entire journey.

In hopes to make these flights a common reality under the Project Sunrise-project, Qantas (QF) are requiring Ultra Long Range aircraft. Qantas stood behind the decision of either ordering Boeing’s Boeing 777X aircraft, or Airbus A350-1000 ULR aircraft.

However, the choice fell on the Airbus A350-1000 series, which only requires extra fuel tanks for the 20-hour operations halfway around the world.

The Boeing 777x aircraft would also be a great aircraft for this range, but unfortunately the 777x program have seen multiple delays in the commercial operations process.

With their interest in the Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, Qantas later announced a massive order for Airbus, including two other aircraft types with their A350’s.


The current labor and lack of components have not just set back Airbus, but also Boeing. The component issues and lack of labor, does without a doubt mark itself as a delay factor in the aviation industry.

Although Alan Joyce is somewhat worried about delays – hence his warning about it – Qantas’ relations to Airbus doesn’t seem to change as CEO Alan Joyce exclaimed that they were in a positive dialogue, something which of course benefits both companies.

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