Qantas goes with all Airbus fleet for domestic fleet renewal

  • May 3, 2022

Qantas chooses Airbus over Boeing to replenish it’s ageing domestic fleet

Qantas has announced firm orders of over 40 Airbus A321 Xtra Long Range (XLR) and A220-300 (20 each) as it’s announced its fleet rejuvenation plan replacing the current Boeing 737/717 fleet. The move that sees Qantas ditching the amercian aircraft manufacturer citing ‘major improvements in emissions, running costs and passenger comfort vs retiring aircraft.’

Domestically, Qantas will start the renewal of its narrow body jets as part of ‘Project Winton’ with firm orders for 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s as its Boeing 737s and 717s are gradually retired. The first of these aircraft will start to arrive in late calendar 2023.

Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce cited the Qantas board’s confidence in the airline to approve the largest aircraft order (along with Project Sunrise) in Australian aviation.

“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. Our strategy for these aircraft will see us generate significant benefits for those who make it possible – our people, our customers and our shareholders. The phasing of this order means it can be funded within our debt range and through earnings, while still leaving room for shareholder returns in line with our financial framework”, said Joyce.

Qantas Dreamliner Business Class
Qantas Business Class on board the Dreamliner

Project Winton

  • A321XLR is five metres longer than the 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. It 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 (e.g. South East Asia, Pacific islands).
  • 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. It has almost double the range at over 6,000 kilometres, meaning it can fly between any city in Australia.
  • The noise levels of both aircraft 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. The A321XLR burns 17 per cent less fuel per passenger compared with the 737.


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