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Qantas will power its domestic fleet using A220, A321XLR aircraft (Photo: Qantas)
Qantas selects Airbus over Boeing, Embraer for fleet renewal

Qantas has chosen Airbus to replace its Boeing 717 and 737 fleet, potentially creating the largest order in Australian aviation history once finalised.

Summary

  • Qantas flips from Boeing to Airbus for fleet renewal
  • Together with Jetstar, Qantas Group order stands at 299
  • Project Surise’ going ahead with A350-1000

In a blow to Boeing, Qantas has selected Airbus to renew its domestic narrowbody fleet, following a detailed evaluation of the A220 and A320neo from Airbus, the 737 MAX from Boeing, and E190/E195-E2 from Embraer dubbed ‘Project Winton’.

In a press release, Qantas said that some of the winning factors include the ability to combine its orders with its low-cost arm Jetstar and the flexibility to change its order between the two aircraft types in the years ahead.

A firm order commitment of 40 aircraft, split between 20 Airbus A220 and 20 Airbus A320neo with an option to purchase 94 additional aircraft, is expected to be finalised in mid-2022, following approval from the Qantas Board.

These aircraft will gradually replace its Boeing 717 and Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, currently operating domestic flights within Australia through Qantas and Qantaslink.

Combining with Jetstar’s existing purchase with Airbus for over 100 aircraft in the A320neo family, the Qantas Group can draw down a total of 299 aircraft across both the A220 and A320neo variants.

The orders could potentially create the largest order in Australian aviation history, once finalised.

Its initial order will concentrate on the larger A321XLR, and the mid-size A220-300 with options to purchase the smaller A220-100 to provide fleet flexibility. Both will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1000G series engine.

The larger A321XLR will enable Qantas to carry 15 per cent more passengers compared to the airline’s existing Boeing 737-800 on busy routes between Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. Its longer range will also allow it to open new city pairs.

The smaller A220 provides Qantas with the flexibility to deploy the aircraft throughout most of its domestic and regional operations. It could also be used to operate off-peak flights between major cities and on routes to increase frequency.

Deliveries are expected to begin from 2024 over a 10-plus year delivery window.

Qantas’ ‘Project Sunrise’, offering direct flights to London and New York is expected to start operating from 2024/25 using Airbus A350-1000, with orders up to 12 aircraft.

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