Qantas prepares to place mega orders for new planes from Boeing and Airbus

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Sydney - By the end of this year, Qantas will announce its choice between the Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737 MAX to replace its 75 Boeing 737s as well as for Boeing 777-8 or Airbus A350-1000 on its upcoming ultra-long-range routes.

Qantas recently canceled an order for eight Airbus A380, but the Australian flag carrier is still working on the replacement of its 75 Boeing 737s currently in service. A future order decision will be made between the two new generation single-aisle jets from Boeing and Airbus.

The CEO Alan Joyce says they have time by 2020 to make a decision. Another decision expected from Qantas is related to the choice for an ultra-long-haul aircraft that will connect Sydney to London with direct flights. There are also two candidates for this, the Boeing 777-8 and Airbus A350-1000.

Airbus is working on an A350-1000 with increased range, a formula similar to that of the A350-900 ULR ordered by Singapore Airlines. For its part, Boeing offers the smallest variant (777-8) of its new widebody jet 777X currently under development. The 777-8 can accommodate 350 to 375 passengers on an 8,693 nmi (16,100 km) flight.

The flight range of the base version of the A350-1000 is a little below of 8370 nmi (15,500 km) but the aircraft offers more margin with the addition of extra fuel tanks as on the A350-900 ULR, which would allow the Airbus's improved widebody to do better than its American competitor.