The Qantas Group already has approximately 100 a321NEO/320NEO’s on order. With the current global situation I would highly suspect some of this order will end up on QF mainline services to replace the 737.
Going forward I would suspect that QLink will become an larger a320 operator. Which still start to spread beyond the regional Western Australian routes overtime.
Crewing costs on QF Mainline 738s is higher than average, the crew are some of the highest paid in the industry for that type of role.
Shifting routes between SYD/MEL/BNE onto QLink would had major crew cost savings.
If would definitely have cost savings, but making a large number of staff redundant to bring in lower cost employees on the Golden Triangle, wouldn't be popular with unions or the general public. Also having QLink A320s compared to Mainline Aircraft would be a differentiation that QF probably wouldn't want to do.
It will be an interesting competition when it happens and once again like the 777x Vs A350 competition, it will be Boeing's to lose. I think it will be more than likely 737 Maxs, together with whatever the NMA becomes, as QF are definitely interested in the NMA for the Golden Triangle and also Perth Flights rather than lugging A330s and 787s (already said to be too heavy for Domestic) on the occasional services
The known unknown here is whether Jetstar need 100 NEOs during the intermediate future? If not then reallocating part of the existing order (with a top-up as necessary) is the sensible choice. If Jetstar do take the entire order then I think Qantas will order MAX. Boeing will be very keen to do a deal, and minimising capex will be Qantas’ priority. By the time of delivery in 2024 most of the general public will have forgotten about the MAX debacle which would have been 6-7 years earlier.
As for the NMA, this aircraft is still a blank sheet of paper. EIS before 2030 seems very unlikely now, and I don’t think any airline is going to plan their future fleet around it (IMHO even Delta and United have either given up or soon will). Although it does involve carrying around excess weight on short sectors, I would not be at all surprised to see the 12 Jetstar 788s be repurposed as the “domestic” widebody fleet. They are already owned, and therefore have baked in capex savings.
Once again, we are in agreement, which in some respects is a bit of a worry; I enjoyed our occasional disagreements.
QF are in no rush to make a decision on its 737 replacement. It has said it will start talking to the OEMs this year but it really doesn't need the planes for another 4 or 5 years so it has 2 years to come to a final decision. They will want to take their time because the market is currently so disrupted, any forecasts are a long way from being scientific.
The NMA is vaporware and it may never happen. It has never even got to a clear concept. Is it a LR narrowbody (replacement 757), a short range widebody (replacing 767s etc) or a long range widebody but under the size of the 788? No one really knows; even Boeing has many paper concepts but that is all. What is certain is that if or when Boeing do launch the NMA, it will run late so deliveries within the next decade are unlikely. Building a fleet plan around the NMA currently is meaningless.
I doubt JQ has a use for the 788s going forward. As many have discovered before them, the longer the route, the harder it is for LCCs to beat out legacy mainline carriers. When international reopens, the only int'l routes JQ will fly will be DPS, NAN and NZ. HKT, HNL etc won't return so there is no longer a pressing need for 'the 787s and the A321LRs and A320s will be able to do all that is needed. There is zero market for the 788s to be remarketed into so QF have to do something with them. The least-worse option is using these birds as replacements for the oldest A332s on domestic services. With "The Business" no longer a competitor, there is even an argument to leave the existing recliners in J class and throttle back on the domestic J class overkill.
717, 721/2, 732/3/4/5/7/8/9, 742/3/4, 752/3, 762/3, 772/E/W, 788/9, 300,310, 319,320/1, 332/3, 359, 388, DC9, DC10, F28, F100, 142,143, E75/90, CR2, D82/3/4, SF3, ATR