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First commercial QantasLink A220 flight touches down in Canberra

written by Jake Nelson | March 1, 2024

QantasLink A220-300 VH-X4B touches down in Canberra after its first commercial flight from Melbourne. (Image: Qantas)

QantasLink has operated its first commercial A220-300 flight, on the Melbourne–Canberra route.

Flight QF1226 took off from Melbourne at 10:24am on Friday on board QantasLink’s second A220, VH-X4B, touching down in Canberra at 11:09am. QantasLink also began operating A220s on its Melbourne–Brisbane route on Friday.

The 137-seater A220s are gradually replacing QantasLink’s aging Boeing 717 fleet, and offer a greater range and more fuel efficiency as well as cabin improvements including larger windows, more overhead locker space, and more comfortable economy seating compared to the 717.

According to QantasLink CEO Rachel Yangoyan, the A220 will “make a real difference” for passengers travelling across the Qantas network.

“The A220 is more comfortable, offering a greater sense of space and fast and free Wi-Fi for every customer. The aircraft are also quieter and generate up to 25 per cent fewer carbon emissions, which is critical as we work towards our net zero target,” she said.


“We know many of our customers have been waiting for the opportunity to travel on the new aircraft, just as our QantasLink teams have been looking forward to flying them.

“We saw a spike in bookings on these routes when we identified them as the first A220 flights last week. It was a great response from many customers who clearly wanted to be among the first to experience our new A220.”

QantasLink’s third A220 is currently being built at the Airbus facility in Mirabel, Canada, and is expected to arrive in June.

The Flying Kangaroo has four more A220s scheduled for delivery by mid-2025, and will gradually roll out the next-generation planes on other routes as they arrive, including Melbourne–Hobart from July, Melbourne–Coffs Harbour from October and Melbourne–Launceston from November.

The first QantasLink A220, VH-X4A, which features a special Indigenous art-inspired livery, touched down in Sydney in December following its ferry flight from Canada, while VH-X4B arrived on Australian soil a month later.

The A220’s arrival forms part of a wider fleet renewal program that will transform Qantas’ 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.

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