Amadeusz Juskowiak

Qantas to buy four 747400s for one billion dlrs

Qantas Airways Ltd has placed a firm order with Boeing Co BA for four 747400 aircraft at a cost of 250 mln Australian dlrs each chairman Jim Leslie said

The first is due for delivery in April 1989 with the others arriving in May June and September of that year he said in a statement

The 400 series is the latest model of the Boeing 747 family he said

The purchase will take governmentowned Qantass 747 fleet to 28 he said

Leslie said Qantas is talking to three engine makers who are all offering engines for the Boeing 747400 and it will announce a decision on engine purchases later this year

He said they are Pratt and Whitney and General Electric Co GE a unit of United Technologies Corp UTX and Britains RollsRoyce Ltd

He said the 747400 which incorporates new technology such as extended wings with sixfeet high winglets and enhanced electronics should have its first flight next February The 400 series has a designed range of 12500 kms 2140 kms further than the current Qantas 747300s he said

The aircraft will be financed by foreign borrowings and foreign exchange earnings and Qantas believes they will pay for themselves in four to five years Leslie said

The 747400 has a takeoff weight of 870000 pounds up from 833000 for the 300 series and offers an eight pct fuel saving he said

The higher range and payload means they will first be used on the route to Britain and Europe via Asia

They will also be used on nonstop flights between Sydney and Los Angeles

REUTER