As the Next-Gen Fleet Takes Flight, Qantas is asking customers to name the plane. Can You Top Quokka or Skippy?
Qantas‘ new Airbus A220 fleet is one step closer to take-off.
Qantas Group is making great strides in its fleet renewal initiative, with the construction of its very first Airbus A220 currently underway. This marks a significant milestone for the company and is definitely an exciting time for all involved!
This eagerly anticipated aircraft is currently taking shape at Airbus’s state-of-the-art facility in Mirabel, Canada, with the construction of major airframe components like the center and rear fuselage. It is the first of 29 aircraft slated to touch down in Australia before the year-end. This Airbus A220 will be the first of its kind to fly in the country.
Before it becomes part of the QantasLink fleet by early 2024, the aircraft must clear regulatory approvals, ensure airport readiness, and be part of training exercises. In preparation for this new addition, QantasLink has begun training pilots to handle the new aircraft.
The arrival of these next-generation A220s will pave the way for a gradual phasing out of QantasLink’s existing Boeing 717 fleet that currently operates across Australia.
The inaugural QantasLink A220 is set to facilitate flights between Melbourne and Canberra, with plans to dispatch future aircraft to other parts of the regional and domestic network. Given its range — double that of the 717 — the A220 is predicted to support new domestic and short-haul international routes as more units join the fleet.
Name the New Qantas A220 Plane!
In full production mode now, the Qantas Group is urging Australians to assist in christening its new A220 fleet. The naming theme revolves around ‘native wildlife,’ allowing Australians to propose up to six names through a dedicated page on the Qantas website. The public can then vote for their favorites from a shortlisted selection before the final names are revealed.
Similar to its 2017 competition for naming its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet — which attracted over 10,000 entries — QantasLink CEO John Gissing states that this naming endeavor is an essential part of the airline’s fleet rejuvenation.
Enthusing over the A220’s progress, Mr. Gissing states, “The A220 represents the next generation in our domestic fleet regarding passenger comfort, aircraft range, and opportunities for our personnel. Seeing the first aircraft beginning to form is truly exciting. It won’t be long until we need to inscribe the names on the sides of these aircraft, and we want all Australians to help us choose what we call them.”
With the Qantas tradition of naming aircraft, the A220 fleet will be christened after Australia’s distinctive and rare wildlife, thereby continuing to celebrate the wonders of Australia.
To propose names for the new QantasLink A220 fleet, visit qantas.com/a220name by August 8, 2023.
A Brief History of Qantas Naming Aircraft
Qantas has always held a sentimental approach to naming its aircraft. It all started in the 1920s, when Qantas’ first trio of planes, small propellers conducting mail runs across Queensland’s outback, were christened Perseus, Pegasus, and Iris — names that echo mythology and loftiness.
Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft, colloquially known as Connies, carried the prefix “Southern” in their names, like Southern Sky and Southern Sea. As the jet age dawned, Qantas’ Boeing 707s and early 747s were named in homage to Australia’s capital cities and significant regions.
This tradition endured with the Boeing 747-400 fleet, with the first aircraft named ‘City of Canberra,’ recognized for its record-breaking 20-hour non-stop delivery flight from London to Sydney. A retired treasure now, it rests in an aviation museum south of Sydney. Moreover, each of the -400s was gifted a secondary name, Longreach, a tribute to Qantas’ origin and the remarkable range of the plane.
Qantas’ 737-400s, retired in 2014, bore the names of iconic Australian birds like the lorikeet, kookaburra, and brolga. Meanwhile, the 737-800s, which currently dominate the airline’s domestic flights, are named after Australian towns. There’s an exception for the 737s specifically assigned to fly between Australia and New Zealand; these are mostly named after distinguished New Zealanders, like Sir Edmund Hillary.
Qantas’ Airbus A380 fleet carry the names of trailblazers in Australian aviation, including Nancy Bird-Walton, Australia’s first female commercial pilot, and Reginald Ansett, the founder of Ansett Airlines.
As Qantas geared up to introduce the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners to its fleet, another crowdsourced naming competition was held. The winning names included Great Barrier Reef, Boomerang, Skippy, Waltzing Matilda, Uluru, Great Southern Land, Quokka, and Dreamtime.
With the introduction of the Airbus A220, the Qantas Group is again turning to its audience to choose the names for these impressive machines, ensuring they resonate with the spirit of Australia.
A few quick facts about the QantasLink A220:
- The Qantas Group has ordered a total of 29 Airbus A220s as part of its Project Winton fleet renewal program. This is a substantial investment that will see the Group receive a new aircraft every three weeks on average over the next few years.
- Seven A220s are projected to be in service by 2024’s end, culminating in 29 aircraft by 2027.
- The QantasLink A220 will accommodate 137 passengers, with 10 Business seats and 127 Economy seats.
- Qantas’ Airbus A220s will primarily serve smaller capital cities like Canberra and Hobart, connecting them to Qantas’ major hubs in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
- With a range double that of the 717 at over 6,000 kilometers, the A220 can fly between any city in Australia and uses 28% less fuel per seat than the 717.