The Qantas Group has reached a significant milestone in its fleet renewal programme with the commencement of construction on its first Airbus A220 aircraft and has called on Australians to help name its fleet of new A220s, based around the theme ‘native wildlife’.
About Qantas’ Fleet Renewal Programme
The Australian carrier announced the renewal programme earlier in the year and that the programme will result in the airline facing out all of its Link’s 20 Boeing 717s, replacing them with 29 fuel-efficient Airbus A220 aircraft.
During a press release, Qantas Group stated that this would be the airline’s biggest fleet renewal programme, with up to 299 narrowbody aircraft spread over 10-plus years.
Seven months into 2023, the Qantas fleet renewal programme is taking shape as the major airframe components of the aircraft, including the centre and rear fuselage, are currently being assembled at Airbus’ production facility in Mirabel, Canada.
The airline expects the delivery of the first of the 29 A220s in Australia before the year’s end. This marks a momentous occasion as the A220 will be the first to operate in Australia. Before being integrated into the QantasLink fleet in early 2024, the aircraft will undergo regulatory approvals, airport readiness, and training activities.
Facts About QantasLink A220:
- The Qantas Group has ordered 29 Airbus A220s for its fleet renewal program.
- Delivery of a new aircraft is expected every three weeks on average, with seven A220s in service by the end of 2024 and a total of 29 by 2027.
- The QantasLink A220 will have a two-cabin configuration, accommodating 137 passengers with 10 Business seats and 127 Economy seats.
- The A220s will primarily connect smaller capital cities like Canberra and Hobart with major hubs in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
- With a range of over 6,000 kilometres, the A220 can fly between any city in Australia. It boasts a 28% reduction in fuel consumption per seat compared to the 717.
Qantas has already commenced training its pilots to operate the new aircraft.
What Happens to The 717 Fleet?
The A220s will gradually replace the Boeing 717 fleet, which currently services routes across Australia. The A220 will operate flights between Melbourne and Canberra, and subsequent aircraft will be deployed on other regional and domestic routes.
With double the range of the 717, the A220 will enable the airline to explore new domestic and short-haul international routes as more of these aircraft enter the fleet.
Australians invited to Name the New A220 Fleet
To engage the public in this exciting development, the Qantas Group is inviting Australians to contribute to naming its new A220 fleet. The naming theme is ‘native wildlife,’ after Australia’s diverse and rare wildlife.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing expressed his enthusiasm for the production milestone, emphasizing the A220’s passenger comfort, extended range, and opportunities for the airline’s staff. He also highlighted the importance of involving Australians in the naming process to continue Qantas’ tradition of celebrating Australia’s unique attributes.
Australians interested in suggesting names for the new QantasLink A220 fleet can nominate up to six names through a dedicated page on the qantas.com website, and they have until 8th August 2023 to do so.
A shortlist of names will be released for public voting, leading to the final selection of names.
What do you think about the Qantas fleet renewal programme? Is asking the public to help name the new fleet a good idea? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.