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Qantas’ regional Australian boost

The Qantas Group has announced an update to its fleet plan to capitalise on growth in Australian domestic markets.

Qantas will lease an additional five Boeing 717 aircraft and purchase three Bombardier Q400 aircraft, due to start arriving from the second half of 2013.

Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said the new aircraft would strengthen the company’s domestic aviation network.

“Over the past five years we’ve invested in our successful domestic airlines to support business travel between major capitals and regional communities, as well as in the fast-growing intrastate markets of Queensland and Western Australia,” Joyce said.

“This expansion to our fleet of 125-seat Boeing 717s and 74-seat Q400s gives us flexibility to pursue growth opportunities in a range of short-haul markets.

“It is a sensible investment in a part of the Qantas Group that is delivering strong returns.”

The Qantas Group has also made a change to its international fleet plan, with the cancellation of a single Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on order for Jetstar.

The remaining 14 B787-8s will be delivered to Jetstar as planned, with the first aircraft to arrive in mid-2013. This will enable the gradual transfer of Airbus A330 aircraft from Jetstar to Qantas Domestic and the retirement of Qantas’ Boeing 767 fleet.

Joyce said Jetstar’s short haul growth plans continue to be supported by the Qantas Group’s existing order of Airbus A320 aircraft.

He said the Qantas Group remained firmly committed to the Dreamliners for both Qantas International and Jetstar, and that it retained options and purchase rights for 50 B787s of either -8 or -9 variants available for delivery from 2016.

In an important milestone for the Jetstar B787 program, production of its first aircraft has just begun. With delivery of the aircraft not due until mid-2013, the airline is confident current technical issues will be resolved by Boeing.

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