Qantas to order Airbus A220, A321XLR

Computer rendering of an Airbus A220 in the Qantas livery. Image: © Airbus

Australian flag-carrier Qantas has confirmed its intention to order 40 Airbus aircraft, with purchase rights for 94 more.

The agreement includes 20 Airbus A220-300 and 20 A321XLR orders, both powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines, while the purchase rights may be used for the entire A320neo family, as well as additional A220. This comes in addition to an already existing A320neo order by Qantas low-cost subsidiary Jetstar.

The two airlines will combine their respective orders into one major contract with aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which is expected to be finalised by the end of the 2022 financial year. “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.

Qantas will use the new airplanes and potential options, with a delivery timeframe of more than ten years, to replace Boeing 717 and 737-800. The company had previously evaluated both the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max, as well as the A220 and Embraer E2 families. “Today’s announcement follows a detailed review by the airline’s engineering, flight operations, customer experience, network, fleet procurement and finance teams“, it states.

75 Boeing 737 passenger aircraft are currently operated by Qantas. The fleet of Qantas Link includes (among other types) 20 Boeing 717. Jetstar operates around 50 A320 family aircraft.