Qantas Group has confirmed it has launched studies into the potential acquisition of Next Generation as well as Future Generation narrowbody aircraft.

According to its FY18 results presentation, in terms of Next Generation technology aircraft, Qantas Group is looking at the A220 from Airbus as well as the E2 series of jets from Embraer. Other NextGen types under review include the A321neo(LR) and the B737 MAX although it is recalled that the group's Jetstar Airways unit already has 18 of the former on order from Airbus with deliveries due from 2020 onwards.

The aircraft would be used to replace the seventy-five B737NextGens, twenty B717-200s, seventeen Fokker 100s, and forty-five Dash 8-200/-300/-400s (as well as Jetstar's five Q300s) currently in service with the group's mainline Qantas carrier, regional partner Cobham Aviation Services Australia and regional subsidiaries Eastern Australia Airlines, Network Aviation, and Sunstate Airlines which operate under the QantasLink banner.

The transition plan also showed Qantas was also looking at Future products under development including the A321neoXLR, an ultra-longrange variant of the A321neo, as well as Boeing's B797 proposal as potential repalcements for its A320 Family and B787 fleets.

In terms of its ultra-longhaul widebody plans, dubbed Project Sunrise, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told Reuters this week that Qantas was still looking at both the A350 and B777X offerings.

Of the A350s, Joyce said Qantas was more partial to the A350-1000 given its greater capacity as well as range over the A350-900, in particular for its flagship Sydney Kingsford Smith-London Heathrow route. However, that advantage did not preclude an A350-900 order, he said, adding that Qantas may even factor in the -1000 into a -900 order, should one be placed. Airbus has previously stated it would consider developing an ultra-long-range variant of the A350-1000, akin to the A350-900(ULR), to suit Qantas's needs of flying 300 seats between Sydney and London non-stop.

In terms of Boeing, Qantas is considering the B777-8, which has a higher seating capacity, Joyce added.

Qantas currently operates ten B747-400s all of which are to be retired by 2020 and replaced by an incoming fleet of at least nine B787-9s. It also has purchase rights for thirty-nine more B787s.

The group has so far not commented on its retirement plans for the other widebody aircraft currently in its employ namely eighteen A330-200s (average age 10.3 years), ten A330-300s (average age 14.1 years), and twelve A380-800s (average age 9 years).