MIRABEL- The inaugural Airbus A220 aircraft for QantasLink (QF) has emerged from the paintshop at Airbus’ facility in Mirabel, Canada, marking a significant milestone in the Qantas Group’s fleet renewal initiative.
Anticipated to reach Australia by the year’s end, this aircraft is the first of 29 A220s slated for delivery to the Group. This deployment is a crucial component of the domestic fleet renewal program, aiming to upgrade and expand the narrowbody fleet.
Qantas New A220 Livery
The next-generation QantasLink A220s are intended to gradually replace the current Boeing 717s operating on flights throughout Australia. With twice the range of the 717, the A220 is poised to introduce new domestic and short-haul international routes as additional aircraft join the fleet.
This marks the twelfth new aircraft delivered to the Group over the past 12 months, encompassing eight Airbus A321LR aircraft for Jetstar and three Boeing 787 Dreamliners for Qantas International.
Further deliveries, spanning various aircraft types, are anticipated in the next year, including introducing the first Airbus A321XLR for Qantas Domestic.
Notably, all these aircraft exhibit significantly lower fuel consumption, reduced emissions, and quieter operation compared to the older models they are replacing.
6th Edition of Flying Art Series
Over the last six months, the inaugural QantasLink A220 aircraft has taken shape at the Mirabel facility, with crucial components manufactured in various facilities worldwide, including wings sourced from the United Kingdom.
During a two-week period in the paintshop, a distinctive Aboriginal paint scheme was applied to the aircraft, making it the sixth addition to the national carrier’s enduring Flying Art Series.
The Qantas Flying Art Series, inaugurated in 1994 with the introduction of the first Indigenous livery on a Boeing 747 jumbo jet named Wunala Dreaming, has seen collaboration with the leading Indigenous Australian design agency, Balarinji. This agency has partnered with Qantas to create fuselage designs for all Flying Art Series liveries, working in conjunction with First Nations artists and their families.
The most recent Flying Art Series livery showcases the artwork of senior Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker, depicting the Dreaming story of two sisters navigating remote Australia together, covering vast distances to reunite with their home. The aircraft is named after the artwork “Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa – The Two Sisters Creation Story.”
Approximately 100 painters contributed to completing the livery, with the Airbus teams utilizing 130 stencils to replicate the intricate designs. Featuring over 20,000 dots, this livery stands as the most intricate design Airbus has ever executed for this aircraft type.
Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson expressed that introducing QantasLink A220s is poised to revolutionize domestic and regional travel.
Ms. Hudson stated, “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. 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.”
The A220, registered as VH-X4A, will undergo routine post-production test flights with Airbus and be equipped with Qantas-specific features before being officially handed over to the airline by the end of the year.
Following this, the aircraft will be ferried from Quebec to Australia and join the QantasLink fleet, initially servicing flights between Melbourne and Canberra. An additional six A220s are scheduled to be delivered by mid-2025.
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