Qantas Selects A320 and A220 for Domestic Fleet 737NG Replacement - AeroSpace News - #AeroSpaceNews Qantas Selects A320 and A220 for Domestic Fleet 737NG Replacement - AeroSpace News - #AeroSpaceNews
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Qantas Selects A320 and A220 for Domestic Fleet 737NG Replacement

Qantas has issued a statement about the aircraft set to replace their fleet of 737 Next Generation (737NG) aircraft for domestic services. The selection was disclosed after a competition between Airbus, Boeing and Embraer for their fleet of A320 NEO/A220, 737 MAX and E2 jets. This follows Project Winton earlier in 2021, where Qantas announced plans to renew their domestic commercial fleet of 737NG’s and 717 (formally marketed as the MD-95).

Qantas Selects A320 and A220 for Domestic Fleet 737NG Replacement

Qantas Selects A320 and A220 for Domestic Fleet 737NG Replacement

The initial order, subject to board and employee confirmation, is for 40 aircraft split evenly between 20 A321XLR and 20 A220-300. This is in combination with an option of 94 purchase options on future aircraft for the next 10 years. The first aircraft are estimated to arrive in 2024. These aircraft will serve the backbone of Qantas' domestic operations serving over 80% of their domestic market capacity.

The A321-XLR will initially replace the 737-800NG in Qantas' fleet. The airline has 75 aircraft of the type with an estimated age of 13 years, according to planespotters.net, however, some are as old as 18 years. The A321-XLR has a capacity of 180-220 passengers when fitted in a two class layout in contrast to the 12 Business and 162 Economy seats of the 737-800NG. This represents an increase of 3-26% capacity, depending on the layout.

Qantas Selects A220-300 for Domestic Fleet Replacement

Qantas Selects A220-300 for Domestic Fleet Replacement

The A220-300 will replace the 717 fleet on shorter domestic routes of lower density. The incumbent aircraft has a capacity of 110 seats while the A220-300 can seat 100-150 passengers. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has told the media that future orders may include the smaller A220-100 based on, "[having] the right aircraft on the right route."

It is the first time that Qantas will be a majority Airbus fleet operator with only the 787 Dreamliners and a variety of Boeing aircraft in the freighter fleet remaining from the longstanding supplier. Alan Joyce acknowledged that, "the A320 will be new for Qantas Domestic" and require training and integration into the company. However, the A320 has, "been the backbone of Jetstar's success for more than 15 years," he told the media.

The news echoes earlier announcements from subsidiary Jetstar outlining orders of over 100 A320 aircraft for their domestic operations. Qantas will be combining the two orders for better economic and order flexibility over the next 10 years. This will allow Qantas to draw down on 299 aircraft over the next decade making this the largest order in Australia's commercial history.

The Airbus winning offer competed against tenders from Boeing and Embraer for their 737 MAX and family of E2 jets. The 737 MAX was recently re-certified by the Australian National Civil Aviation Authority. This follows two crashes, a Lion Air in 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines in 2019. The 737 MAX has seen strong orders from other Australian operators including Virgin Australia which has 25 aircraft on order for arrival in 2023. Start-up Bonza, a new low cost carrier operator in the Australian domestic market has signified intentions to launch with a fleet of B737-8 MAX aircraft in 2022.

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About Leighton Powell, Australia Correspondent:

Australian reporter of all things aerospace in the Southern Pacific and South East Asia region. Recreational Pilot training with Qantas Group Pilot Academy flying DA 40 and C172. Love and passion for all things above our heads.

More: Articles by Leighton Powell

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