Airlines Qantas selects Airbus A220 and A321XLR for domestic fleet renewal

Australian flag-carrier Qantas has selected Airbus for its domestic fleet renewal by ordering 40 firm aircraft.

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European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has won the race against Boeing for Qantas´ new domestic fleet of the future. The flag-carrier has now signed a firm purchase deal for 40 aircraft, including 20 Airbus A220s and 20 Airbus A321XLRs.

Over the past months and years, both manufacturers had hopes to be selected as new strategic partner for Qantas. The carrier looked both at the 737 MAX family and the Airbus A320neo family and has now decided to make a change. Currently, the domestic services are mainly performed with Boeing 737 equipment.

The final decision was approved by the Qantas Board and the order is expected to be placed with Airbus by the end of FY22. With deliveries beginning the years after, Qantas will have enough time to phase out the aging domestic backbone consisting of the 737-800s and 717s.

Qantas also holds purchase rights for additional 94 aircraft over a 10-plus year delivery window, the airline announced. If all rights will be exercised, this order will become the largest aircraft order in Australian aviation history.

Qantas Airbus A220 © Airbus
Qantas Airbus A220 © Airbus

Group subsidiary airline Jetstar has already an existing agreement with Airbus for over 100 A320neo family aircraft. Over the course of the new deal, these orders will be combined so that the group will have a total of 299 deliveries over the next decade.

Regarding the selection process, Qantas stated: “Today’s announcement follows a detailed review by the airline’s engineering, flight operations, customer experience, network, fleet procurement and finance teams. The airline conducted detailed evaluation of the A320neo and B737 MAX families as well as the smaller A220 and Embraer E190/195-E2s.”

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce added: “The Airbus deal had the added advantage of providing ongoing flexibility within the order, meaning we can continue to choose between the entire A320neo and A220 families depending on our changing needs in the years ahead. The ability to combine the Jetstar and Qantas order for the A320 type was also a factor.”

“The A320 will be new for Qantas Domestic, but we already know it’s a great aircraft because it’s been the backbone of Jetstar’s success for more than 15 years and more recently operating the resources industry in Western Australia […] The A220 is such a versatile aircraft which has become popular with airline customers in the United States and Europe because it has the capability to fly regional routes as well as longer sectors between capital cities,” Joyce concluded.

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