QantasLink’s first brand new Airbus A220 aircraft has rolled out of the paintshop at Airbus’ facility in Mirabel, Canada. This marks a significant milestone in the Qantas Group’s fleet renewal program.
The aircraft, scheduled to arrive in Australia by the end of the year, is part of the Group’s domestic fleet renewal program to replace and expand its narrowbody fleet. A total of 29 A220s will be delivered to the Group.
Next-Generation A220s Replace Boeing 717s
The new QantasLink A220s are the next generation of aircraft that will gradually replace the Boeing 717s currently in operation on domestic flights across Australia. With double the range of the 717, the A220 is will open up new domestic and short-haul international routes as more of these aircraft join the fleet.
This delivery will be the twelfth new aircraft the Qantas Group has received in the past year. The Group has already received eight Airbus A321LR aircraft for Jetstar and three Boeing 787 Dreamliners for Qantas International. More deliveries of various aircraft types are scheduled in the next 12 months. They include the first Airbus A321XLR for Qantas Domestic. These new aircraft are more fuel-efficient, emit fewer emissions, and produce less noise compared to the older aircraft they are replacing.
The first QantasLink A220 aircraft was assembled at the Mirabel facility over the past six months. Key components were manufactured in different facilities worldwide. The aircraft spent two weeks in the paintshop, where workers applied a captivating Aboriginal paint scheme. This makes the aircraft the sixth addition to Qantas’ Flying Art Series, which showcases unique liveries on the airline’s planes.
Art by Senior Pitjantjatjara Artist Maringa Baker
The Flying Art Series was first introduced in 1994. The first Indigenous livery appeared on a Boeing 747 called “Wunala Dreaming.” Qantas collaborated with the leading Indigenous Australian design agency, Balarinji, to create the fuselage design for all the liveries in the Flying Art Series. They collaborate with First Nations artists and their families.
The latest addition to the Flying Art Series features the artwork of senior Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker. It depicts the Dreaming story of two sisters who journey together across remote Australia, covering vast distances to find their way home. The aircraft’s name is the title of the artwork: “Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa – The Two Sisters Creation Story.”
Around 100 painters completed the livery of the QantasLink A220s. The Airbus teams used 130 stencils to replicate the intricate designs, resulting in the most complex livery ever completed for this aircraft type. The livery features over 20,000 dots.
QantasLink A220 Will Revolutionize Domestic and Regional Travel
Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson believes introducing the A220s will revolutionize domestic and regional travel in Australia.
“These aircraft have the potential to change the way our customers travel across the country, with the ability to connect any two cities or towns in Australia,” said Hudson. “That means faster and more convenient travel for business trips and exciting new possibilities for holiday travel. A whole new fleet type also means a lot of opportunities for our people to operate and look after these aircraft.”
About the QantasLink A220
- The QantasLink A220 will seat 137 passengers in a two-cabin configuration with 10 Business seats and 127 seats in Economy.
- The A220s will mostly connect smaller capital cities like Canberra and Hobart with the airline’s major hubs in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
- The A220 has almost double the range of the 717 at over 6,000 kilometers. This means it can fly between any city in Australia. The aircraft burns 25% less fuel per seat and CO2 than previous-generation aircraft.
- The airline invited the public to help name the new A220 fleet after Australian native wildlife. (The first aircraft, as part of the Flying Art Series, is an exception to the A220 naming convention).
Before delivery to Qantas, the A220 (registration VH-X4A) will undergo routine post-production test flights with Airbus. Additionally, workers will install Qantas-specific equipment. The official handover will take place by the year’s end. The aircraft will then ferry from Quebec to Australia and join the QantasLink fleet, initially operating flights between Melbourne and Canberra. Qantas has plans to add six more A220s to its fleet by mid-2025.