Qantas will embark on a sweeping overhaul of its domestic fleet with the popular A320neo family – including the extended-range A321XLR – replacing the Boeing 737 as the airline’s domestic and short-range international workhorse.
Airbus edged out Boeing and its 737 MAX in what Qantas termed ‘Project Winton’ – named after the airline’s 1920 birthplace in central Queensland – which will redefine its fleet for decades to come.
Also on the way out are the ageing Boeing 717s flown by the regional QantasLink service – they’ll be upgraded to the Airbus A220.
In announcing the deal, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce described it as “a generation decision on what aircraft will serve our domestic passengers for the next 20 years.”
Qantas’ initial order will start at 20 A321XLRs and 20 A220s: this will be finalised by mid-2022, with the first factory-fresh aircraft expected to arrive by the end of 2023.
Subsequent deliveries from an additional 94 purchase right options, along with the total spend, will be spread “over a 10-plus year delivery window” as the Boeing 737s and 717s are gradually phased out.
The first 40 Airbus jets carry a combined list price of at least $6.5 billion before the typical 30-50% discount enjoyed by airlines.
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