Australian regional airline QantasLink’s first brand new Airbus A220 aircraft has rolled out of the paint shop at Airbus’ facility in Mirabel, Canada.
It marks a significant milestone in the Qantas Group’s fleet renewal programme, with the aircraft set to arrive in Australia before the end of the year.
The aircraft is the first of 29 A220s that will be delivered to the group as part of its domestic fleet renewal programme to replace and grow its narrowbody fleet.
Over the past six months, this first QantasLink A220 aircraft has come together at the Mirabel facility, with key components produced in other facilities around the world, including wings from the United Kingdom.
Gradually replacing the Boeing 717s currently operating across Australia, the next-generation A220s will have double the range of the 717 and is expected to open up new domestic and short-haul international routes as more aircraft enter the fleet.
The aircraft spent two weeks in the paint shop where an Aboriginal paint scheme was applied, making this aircraft the sixth to join the national carrier’s longstanding Flying Art Series.
Approximately 100 painters were involved in completing the livery which features over 20,000 dots and is the most complex livery Airbus has ever completed for this aircraft type.
Vanessa Hudson, Qantas Group chief executive, 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.
“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 new aircraft will be the twelfth delivered to the group in the past 12 months, including eight Airbus A321LR aircraft for Jetstar and three Boeing 787 Dreamliners for Qantas International.
More deliveries of multiple aircraft types are expected in the next 12 months, including the first Airbus A321XLR for Qantas Domestic.
All aircraft burn significantly less fuel, generate fewer emissions and are quieter than the older aircraft they replace.
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 to join the QantasLink fleet initially operating flights between Melbourne and Canberra.
Another six A220s are scheduled to be delivered by mid-2025.
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