December 22 2021  |  Airline & Terminal News

Qantas selects Airbus for domestic fleet renewal

By Jayson Koblun

The A320neo family offers fuel improvements of 14 percent from A320ceos

Qantas has selected the A320neo and A220 families as the preferred aircraft for the long-term renewal of its domestic narrow-body fleet.

“This is a long-term renewal plan with deliveries and payments spread over the next decade and beyond, but the similarly long lead time for aircraft orders means we need to make these decisions now,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce in a December 16 press release.

Qantas said in the release a firm commitment for 40 aircraft – 20 A321XLR (extra long-range) and 20 A220 aircraft – is expected to be placed with Airbus by the end of fiscal year 2022, following discussions with employees about arrangements to operate the new aircraft types and a final decision by the Qantas Board.

The order is in addition to Jetstar’s existing agreement with Airbus for more than 100 aircraft in the A320neo family. Part of this new deal includes combining these two orders so that the Group can draw down on a total of 299 deliveries across both the A320 and A220 families as needed over the next decade and beyond for Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar.

Once finalized, the release said this deal will represent the largest aircraft order in Australian aviation history.

“The initial firm order concentrates on the larger, single-aisle A321XLR, and the mid-size A220-300 with purchase right options for the smaller A220-100, giving Qantas a fleet mix that can deliver better network choices and route economics,” said the release. “The XLR can carry around 15 percent more passengers on each flight than the airline’s existing B737-800s, making it well suited to busy routes between capital cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Its longer range means it can also be used to open up new city pairs.”

Both aircraft types will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines and will deliver fuel savings of between 15 to 20 percent, contributing to the airline’s broader emission reduction efforts.

“Can I thank Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and the engine manufacturers for the efforts they put into this process,” said Joyce. “This was a very tough choice to make. Each option delivered on our core requirements around safety, capability and emissions reductions. But when you multiply even small benefits in areas like range or cost across this many aircraft and over the 20 years they’ll be in the fleet, Airbus was the right choice as preferred tenderer.

“The Airbus deal had the added advantage of providing ongoing flexibility within the order, meaning we can continue to choose between the entire A320neo and A220 families depending on our changing needs in the years ahead. The ability to combine the Jetstar and Qantas order for the A320 type was also a factor.”

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