MIAMI — Qantas has announced and order for eight Boeing 787-9, intended to replace part of its aging Boeing 747-400 fleet, and add further capacity for future international growth.

The airline placed an initial order in December 2005 comprised by 45 Dreamliners, with 20 options plus purchase rights for additional 50 airplanes. Four years later, the airline opted to cancel part of this order for 15 aircraft and defer the delivery of 15 more, due to delays in the 787 program and the poor performance from its international division. Later, in 2014, the order was further deferred, casting doubts about its future.

The current order, much smaller than the original one, comprises five purchase options exercised from the original order plus a reallocation of three 787-8 from its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar. Deliveries have been splitted between 2017 and 2018, and further includes 15 options plus 30 additional purchase rights. If all exercised, Qantas would become one of the largest 787 operators in the world.

“We’re halfway through the biggest and fastest transformation in our history. Qantas is rapidly growing fitter, stronger, and smarter. These aircraft are a fitting emblem of that evolution – they show that we are revitalised and here for the long haul” says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

The annoucement of the order came out as the airline announced a net profit of US$717 million. largely attributed to earnings before interests and taxed from the now booming international business division. According to the Australian Financial Review, “If Qantas combines that with a share buyback, as is expected by many analysts, it will be a blockbuster day for the carrier.”