Qantas is studying the A350-900(ULR) alongside the B777-8 for its long-term ultra-long haul needs, the Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
Speaking to the Australian Business Traveller at the recent IATA AGM in Dublin, Joyce said the Australian carrier was in talks with both Airbus and Boeing on post-2020 fleet plans.
Both the A350-900(ULR) and the 777-8 are expected to operates over ranges of up to 16,000km. However, the 777-8 will be able to seat 350-375 passengers, while the A350-900(ULR) will be able to seat only 300 or so. The A350-900(ULR), though, will make its commercial debut in 2018 with Singapore Airlines, 4/5 years earlier than the American counterpart.
Right now Qantas is expecting the first of eight 787-9s from Boeing later this year, which will be used to gradually replace its aging fleet of eleven B747-400s.