QantasLink’s first brand new Airbus A220 aircraft has rolled out of the paintshop at Airbus’ facility in Mirabel, Canada with a striking green Aboriginal-style paint theme.
The aircraft, which is set to arrive in Australia before the end of the year, is the first of 29 A220s that will be delivered to the short-haul subsidiary of the Qantas group as part of its domestic fleet renewal program to replace and grow its narrowbody fleet.
The A220s will gradually replace the Boeing 717s currently operating flights across Australia. With double the range of the B717, the A220 is expected to open up new domestic and short-haul international routes as more aircraft enter the fleet.
Indigenous Australian design agency, Balarinji, has worked with Qantas to create the fuselage design and the latest Flying Art Series livery features the artwork of senior Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker and tells the Dreaming story of two sisters who traverse remote Australia together, covering vast distances to find their way home. The aircraft is named after the artwork Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa – The Two Sisters Creation Story.
Around 100 painters were involved in completing the livery, with the Airbus teams working with 130 stencils to replicate the detailed designs. It features over 20,000 dots and is the most complex livery Airbus has ever completed for this aircraft type.
On the subject of fleet renewal, Qantas Group CEO, Vanessa Hudson, said: “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 Ms 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.”
The A220 (registration VH-X4A) will undergo a series of routine post-production test flights with Airbus as well as being fitted with Qantas-specific equipment before being officially handed over to the airline by the end of the year.
The aircraft will then ferry from Quebec to Australia and join the QantasLink fleet, initially operating flights between Melbourne and Canberra. Another six A220s are scheduled to be delivered by mid-2025.