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Qantas’ first new A220 en route to Sydney

written by Adam Thorn | December 17, 2023

QantasLink’s first A220, VH-X4A, makes its maiden test flight. (Image: Qantas)

Qantas’ first new A220 is now en route to Sydney from Montreal.

VH-X4A departed Quebec’s biggest city at 10:25 am on 16 December as flight QJE6075 and landed in Vancouver at 12:53 pm.

Airbus confirmed it will continue to Honolulu and Nadi before arriving in the NSW capital imminently, with the Flying Kangaroo now having formally taken ownership of the aircraft.

The journey follows two test flights and its exit from the Airbus paint shop last month, where it was decorated with an Indigenous art-inspired livery.

Qantas has ordered 29 A220s to replace the ageing QantasLink 717 fleet. While the A220s will be named after native Australian wildlife, ‘Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa’ is the exception as part of the Flying Art Series and features the artwork of senior Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker.


Each A220 will seat 137 passengers, including 10 in business and 127 in economy class. It has double the range of the 717, at 6,000 kilometres, while burning 25 per cent less fuel per seat and generating less noise.

The advancements mean it will be capable of connecting any two points across Australia non-stop and will initially be able to operate with up to 50 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson previously said the A220 would be a “game changer” for domestic and regional travel, and will mostly connect smaller cities like Canberra and Hobart with major hubs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“These aircraft have the potential to change the way our customers travel across the country, with the ability to connect any two cities or towns in Australia,” said Hudson.

“That means faster and more convenient travel for business trips and exciting new possibilities for holiday travel. A whole new fleet type also means a lot of opportunities for our people to operate and look after these aircraft.”

Qantas is expecting a further six A220s by mid-2025.

The A220’s arrival forms part of a wider fleet renewal program that will transform its domestic and international aircraft.

Internationally, Qantas will receive 12 new 787 Dreamliners and 12 Airbus A350s to replace the bulk of its ageing A330 fleet, alongside a separate order for 12 specially adapted A350-1000 jets to launch Project Sunrise.

Domestically, the airline will purchase 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 29 A220-300s to fly its domestic routes, but with the option to buy many more.

Subsidiary brand Jetstar has already begun welcoming its new fleet of 38 A320neos, comprised of 18 A321LRs and 20 A321XLR aircraft – an even longer-range variant.

Finally, the national carrier is also overhauling its freighter fleet to create nine new A321 P2Fs, taking its final fleet to 12 and one new A330 P2F.

So-called P2Fs are passenger aircraft that are transformed into freighters. Qantas only unveiled its last A330 P2F in October.

VH-EBF, named ‘Hercules’, flew its last commercial flight in November last year before heading to Dresden in Germany for its conversion.

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