Sporting a distinctive indigenous livery, the aircraft completed its journey from Airbus’s facility in Mirabel, Canada, with stops in Vancouver, Honolulu, and Nadi (Fiji) before touching down at midday.
Qantas A220: New Domestic Chapter Begins
This marks the introduction of the first 29 Airbus A220s slated for delivery to QantasLink as part of the broader domestic fleet renewal program, which includes an additional 36 widebody aircraft on order.
As the inaugural aircraft of its kind in Australia, the A220s are anticipated to facilitate the launch of new direct domestic and short-haul international routes as more of these aircraft are integrated into the fleet.
Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson expressed enthusiasm about the arrival of the new A220 aircraft, emphasizing its positive impact on customer experience, environmental sustainability, and employment opportunities within the airline.
Ms. Hudson highlighted the A220’s capacity to bring about enhancements such as reduced emissions, lower noise levels, and improved passenger comfort. The aircraft’s size and extended range will enable the addition of new direct routes previously deemed economically unviable.
The A220, being more fuel-efficient, contributes to the airline’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions, generating approximately 25% fewer carbon emissions than its predecessor and operating with reduced noise levels.
This milestone signals the initiation of the largest domestic fleet renewal program in Qantas’ history, with the Group expecting to receive a new aircraft approximately every three weeks over the coming years.
As a result of this substantial fleet investment, the airline plans to recruit additional pilots, cabin crew, and engineers, anticipating creating around 8,500 local jobs over the next decade.
Melbourne-Canberra: Qantas A220 First Route
The inaugural A220 aircraft in Australia registered as VH-X4A, is set to undergo various preparatory activities, including regulatory approvals, airport readiness assessments, and crew familiarization and training exercises.
These measures are part of the aircraft’s readiness before it begins operations on the Melbourne-Canberra route in the first quarter of 2024. Melbourne houses a dedicated A220 flight simulator to facilitate pilot training.
Distinguished by a captivating livery, the aircraft emerged from the paint shop as the latest addition to Qantas’ Flying Art Series.
Collaborating with the leading Indigenous Australian design agency Balarinji, the Copyright Agency, and Tjungu Palya Art Centre, Qantas reproduced senior Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker’s painting, “Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa” (Two Sisters Creation Story), on the aircraft.
Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson expressed pride in the striking livery that garnered worldwide attention. This livery continues the airline’s tradition of showcasing First Nations art and culture through the Flying Art series.
“Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa” marks the thirteenth addition to the Group’s fleet in the past 12 months, including Airbus A321LR aircraft for Jetstar (JQ) and Boeing 787 Dreamliners for Qantas International.
Multiple aircraft deliveries, spanning various types, are anticipated in the next year, including introducing the Airbus A321XLR for Qantas Domestic as the Boeing 737 undergoes phased retirement.
The second A220 is currently in the final assembly phase and is scheduled for delivery in January 2024, with an additional five A220s expected to be delivered between January 2024 and mid-2025.
The QantasLink A220 is configured with a two-cabin layout, accommodating 137 passengers. This arrangement comprises 10 Business seats and 127 seats in Economy.
Designed to replace the Boeing 717, the A220s are primarily deployed on routes linking smaller capital cities such as Canberra and Hobart with larger cities like Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
With a range exceeding 6,000 kilometers, the A220 boasts nearly double the range of the 717, enabling it to operate flights between any two cities in Australia. Additionally, the aircraft demonstrates a 25 percent reduction in fuel consumption per seat and CO2 emissions compared to its predecessors.
To engage the public, an initiative was launched to name the new A220 fleet after Australian native wildlife. However, the first aircraft featured in the Flying Art Series deviates from the A220 naming convention.
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