In a major announcement, Qantas has named the Airbus A320neo and Airbus A220 families as the preferred aircraft for its long-term domestic narrow-body fleet overhaul.
The airline is expected to make a firm commitment to order 40 aircraft — 20 A321XLR (extra long-range) and 20 A220 aircraft — from Airbus by the end of FY22. This decision comes after extensive discussions with employees about the operations of these new aircraft types and a final green light from the Qantas Board.
Qantas has also secured an additional 94 purchase right options on aircraft over a period extending beyond 10 years. As its current fleet of Boeing 737-800s and 717s are gradually retired, these options will provide the airline with flexibility to manage its fleet.
This deal is an extension of an existing agreement between Jetstar and Airbus for over 100 aircraft from the A320neo family. The twist in this new agreement is the combination of these two orders, giving the Group a whopping total of 299 deliveries from both the A320 and A220 families. These aircraft can be drawn down as required over the next decade and beyond for Qantas, QantasLink, and Jetstar.
Pending finalisation, this deal is set to go down in history as the largest aircraft order ever placed in Australian aviation.
The A321XLR is capable of carrying around 15 per cent more passengers per flight than the airline’s current B737-800s, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic routes between cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. Furthermore, its longer range opens the door for new city pairs.
The A220s, on the other hand, offer flexibility for the Group to deploy these aircraft throughout most of its domestic and regional operations. These aircraft could be utilized during off-peak times between major cities and on key regional routes to increase frequency.
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