MIRABEL- In May, Qantas (QF) unveiled plans for a significant overhaul of its fleet, intending to replace its existing 20 Boeing 717s with 29 Airbus A220s. The new aircraft’s initial arrival is expected before this year’s conclusion.
Recent developments suggest progress toward this goal, as evidenced by an X post featuring the first A220 undergoing a trial flight in Canada.
Qantas A220 First Flight
Qantas, Australia’s national airline, is currently in the early phases of its most substantial fleet modernization since its inception over a century ago when it operated as a pioneering Queensland airline.
While much attention has been directed at introducing new Airbus A350s for ultra-long-haul services, there is a growing focus on the other end of the fleet’s transformation – the transition from Boeing 717s to Airbus A220s.
The trial flight occurred on Thursday, departing from Montreal Mirabel International Airport (YMX), where the Airbus A220 circled the airport and the Montreal area for 2 hours and 54 minutes.
Flightradar24 data indicates that the A220 operated with its test registration, C-FPGP, rather than the Australian tail number VH-X4A, as mistakenly mentioned in the Qantas X post.
More Steps Before Entering into Service
In July, Qantas disclosed that the construction of this inaugural A220 had commenced, with key airframe components such as the rear and center fuselage and wings being assembled at the Airbus Mirabel facility in Canada.
While it may be handed over to Qantas in the typical end-of-year push to boost annual production figures, it is anticipated that the aircraft will not be served with QantasLink until early 2024.
The introduction of the first A220 in Australia necessitates obtaining various regulatory approvals, conducting pilot training, ensuring airport readiness, and completing other essential training activities before it can commence operations.
Although the specific timeline for these activities remains uncertain, Qantas has officially announced that the newly registered A220 with the identifier VH-X4A will be deployed on the route connecting Melbourne and the national capital, Canberra.
New A220 Livery
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.
The next-generation QantasLink A220s will 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.
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 is the most intricate design Airbus has ever executed for this aircraft type.
Stay tuned with us. Further, follow us on social media for the latest updates.