Key Points:

  • Qantas has conducted the first test flight of its Airbus A220, the initial aircraft in a 29-plane order, marking a significant step in its fleet renewal program.

  • The A220-300, offering increased range capabilities, will replace Qantas’ Boeing 717s and is set to debut on the Sydney-Melbourne route.

  • The aircraft sports a unique livery as part of Qantas’ Flying Art Series and will undergo further tests and fittings before its official handover by the end of 2023.

Qantas Advances in Fleet Modernization with Airbus A220 Test Flight

Qantas has achieved a crucial phase in its fleet modernization strategy with the first test flight of the Airbus A220. This aircraft is the first of 29 ordered by the Australian flag carrier and represents a key component of its domestic fleet renewal program. The A220-300, configured with 137 seats (10 in business and 127 in economy), is poised to gradually replace the airline's current Boeing 717 fleet.

This new addition brings enhanced capabilities, notably its range, which enables it to connect any two cities across Australia. The first of these aircraft is slated for operation on the highly frequented Sydney-Melbourne route, indicating Qantas' strategic emphasis on optimizing key domestic connections.

The A220's Unique Livery and Impact on Travel

The Airbus A220 stands out with its distinctive livery, a process that involved around 100 painters, 130 stencils, and approximately 20,000 dots. This striking design, applied over two weeks, represents the sixth installment in Qantas' Flying Art Series. Launched in 1994, this series celebrates Aboriginal art, showcasing it on the airline's aircraft.

Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson highlighted the transformative potential of the A220 for both domestic and short-haul international travel. She emphasized the aircraft's ability to offer faster and more convenient travel experiences, opening up new possibilities for both business and leisure travel. The introduction of a new fleet type also presents exciting opportunities for Qantas' staff in terms of operation and maintenance.

Final Steps Before A220 Joins Qantas Fleet

Before officially joining the Qantas fleet, the Airbus A220 will undergo a series of post-production test flights conducted by Airbus. Additionally, the aircraft will be fitted with Qantas-specific equipment to tailor it to the airline's requirements. The official handover of this aircraft to Qantas is anticipated by the end of 2023.

The airline's plan includes the delivery of another six A220s by mid-2025, further bolstering its commitment to renewing and enhancing its domestic fleet. This strategic move underlines Qantas' efforts to modernize its operations and improve its service offerings on both domestic and regional routes.