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Tue, 3 May 2022

Qantas Board Approves Largest Aircraft Order in Australian Aviation

(03 May 2022, 12:13 +07)  Qantas has ordered 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s as part of its Project Winton domestic fleet renewal.

The first of the A220s are scheduled for delivery in late-2023, with the order including purchase right options for another 94 aircraft for delivery through to at least 2034.

Deliveries of the A321XLRs are slated to commence in late-2024.

The aircraft will replace Qantas fleet of 95 Boeing 737 and Boeing 717 aircraft which are gradually being retired.

Qantas A321XLR is five metres longer than the outgoing 737s and will be configured to seat 200 people (20 business, 180 economy) a 15 per cent increase with no reduction in space between seats. The aircraft can fly approximately 3,000km further than the 737 (at 8,700km) and opens up a wider range of direct domestic and short haul international routes, such as within South East Asia and Pacific islands.

Qantas aims to redefine First Class and long-haul travel with the A350-1000. Click to enlarge.
Qantas aims to redefine First Class and long-haul travel with the A350-1000

The A220-300 is larger overall than the outgoing 717s and will be configured to seat 137 people (10 in Business, 127 in Economy) a 25 per cent increase with no reduction in space between seats. The aircraft has almost double the range at over 6,000 kilometres, meaning it can fly between any city in Australia.

Both aircraft types will be powered by Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan engines (PW1100G-JM and PW1500G), and have noise levels that are up to 50 per cent lower than the retiring aircraft.

On a per seat basis, the A220-300 burns 28 per cent less fuel per passenger than the 717, while the A321XLR burns 17 per cent less fuel per passenger compared with the 737.

Internationally, Qantas has chosen to order 12 Airbus A350-1000s, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan engines, to operate non-stop Project Sunrise flights from Australia to cities such as New York and London.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2025 and be completed by 2028.

The Qantas A350-1000 will carry 238 passengers across four classes (First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy), with more than 40 per cent of the cabin dedicated to premium seating. The aircraft will also feature what the airline has called a wellbeing zone in the centre.

New types of aircraft make new things possible, said  Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO. Throughout our history, the aircraft weve flown have defined the era were in. The 707 introduced the jet age, the 747 democratised travel and the A380 brought a completely new level of comfort. The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just one flight away from Australia. Its the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance. As youd expect, the cabin is being specially designed for maximum comfort in all classes for long-haul flying.

These latest orders combines with the existing order of 109 A320s (plus purchase rights) for Jetstar into a single Qantas Group narrow body order of 299 aircraft (half of which are firm orders and half are purchase right options), with the flexibility to draw down on that order by choosing any variant from the A320 and A220 families.

This flexibility enables Jetstar to convert 20 of its existing A320 family order to A321XLRs, which have the potential to fly short haul international routes, with delivery to start in the second half of calendar 2024. The first tranche from this existing order 18 A321LRs are due to arrive from July 2022 onwards.

The A320s and A220s will become the backbone of our domestic fleet for the next 20 years, helping to keep this country moving. Their range and economics will make new direct routes possible, including serving regional cities better, added Mr. Joyce. These newer aircraft and engines will reduce emissions by at least 15 per cent if running on fossil fuels, and significantly better when run on Sustainable Aviation Fuel. This order brings us closer to our commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Project Sunrise will be carbon neutral from day one. We have come through the other side of the pandemic a structurally different company. Our domestic market share is higher and the demand for direct international flights is even stronger than it was before COVID. The business case for Project Sunrise has an internal rate of return in the mid-teens.

See also: Qantas Launches New Distribution Platform in UK, US and South Africa.

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