The time has come to order up some 787-9's but also the time has come to wait for improved financial ratings as Qantas disposes its debt. Unfortunately Qantas is caught between the two worlds where it has turn around its financial status from cheaper fuel advantages and from its robust business plan executed for reducing its operational cost. The impact of those turnarounds have not made it to an improved financial rating yet, until it is way clear of its debt. If they had a strong financial rating at this time they could do fleet renewal for the 50 787-9's it needs. However putting money down from banked gains destroys the Qantas financial portfolio and rating. They may have to wait and lose the option window with Boeing.
What can Qantas do? Parse out the order out in segments of 10 units a time over the next 10 years, keeping the low price for the first ten and then ordering from options on the next ten at a higher price. Than what would happen if had closed the deal for the first fifty from its old standing option in the first place? The old option it is about to expire. Credit ratings are a pain when you have a tough decade. They will have to renegotiate with a benevolent Boeing. They may cut a deal that Qantas can financially swallow, but not the deal it now holds through the nearly expired 50 787 options.
A structured order may be coming with Qantas in layers of aircraft that will please Boeing, and enable Qantas to reach its critical needs of fleet renewals. It may come about with a two tier purchase scheme of ten at one price ten at "another price", and then tacking on a new options matching that same "other price" Boeing quotes, which would not be comparable with its original 50 options on the books. This would buy Qantas time for catching up its credit ratings from its current financial standing, during its turn-around. Qantas must keep emerging from the operational and financial efficiency over the next five years, as the 787 fleet grows and replaces the 747. It remains when Qantas needs the 787-9, and must make some purchase sacrifices along the way to get there, as it dropped financial rating ball awhile back.
Otherwise Qantas may have a rabbit in the hat for the current option closing for its 50 787-9's. Boeing may have worked a deal to fit its financial quandary. The current clock does not allow Qantas enough time to gain financial ratings, as it tries to swallow more fleet on one hand and keep making financial progress on the other hand.