Bloomberg News

Qantas Orders 110 Airbus A320s, Reaches Cabin-Crew Pay Accord

October 06, 2011

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Qantas Airways Ltd., Australia’s biggest carrier, confirmed an order for 110 Airbus A320-series planes as it renews its fleet and adds overseas ventures because of Asian travel growth.

The order, which was tentatively signed in August, includes 78 A320neo planes and 32 of the existing version of the narrow- body aircraft, Toulouse, France-based Airbus said in a statement today. The airline will select an engine supplier at a later date, it said.

Qantas also reached agreement with short-haul cabin-crew union leaders on a three-year pay deal, it said in a separate statement. The airline was forced to cancel 17 flights tomorrow because of disputes with engineers, baggage handlers and other workers seeking job guarantees.

The Sydney-based company will use some of the new Airbus planes at a premium airline it’s setting up in southeast Asia and others at Jetstar Japan, a planned budget venture. The new ventures will help Qantas add flights to China as it works to turn around overseas operations that are losing about A$200 million ($194 million) a year.

The cabin-crew accord included 3 percent pay increases for three years, A$500 annual lump-sum payments and more flexibility in scheduling, Qantas said. About 2,150 members of the Flight Attendants Association of Australia Domestic/Regional Division will be able to vote on the deal from Oct. 28 to Nov. 18.

Qantas’s plane agreement raises Airbus’s tally for A320neo orders and commitments to 1,245. The single-aisle aircraft, first announced late last year, is a more fuel-efficient version of the existing A320 featuring new engines. It is due to enter service in 2015.

Airlines in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands will need 736 new planes through 2030, valued at $98 billion, Airbus said in a separate statement today.

--With assistance from Andrea Rothman in Toulouse, France, and Victoria Batchelor in Sydney. Editors: Jerrold Colten, Benedikt Kammel

To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Denslow in Hong Kong at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net


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