Qantas trades Boeing for Airbus with new domestic fleet order

Ryan Fletcher/

Qantas has selected the Airbus A320neo and A220 families to renew its domestic narrow-body fleet composed of Boeing 737 and 717. The contract announced on December 16, 2021, is estimated at around $13 billion (about €11.5 billion.) 

The Australian flag carrier will start with a firm order for 20 A321XLR (extra long-range) and 20 A220 aircraft in 2020, followed by “94 purchase right options on aircraft over a 10-plus year delivery window as its existing Boeing 737-800s and 717s are gradually phased out,” it explained in a statement. Deliveries will begin in mid-2023. 

“This is a long-term renewal plan with deliveries and payments spread over the next decade and beyond, but the similarly long lead time for aircraft orders means we need to make these decisions now,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce commented. “This is a clear sign of our confidence in the future and we’ve locked in pricing just ahead of what’s likely to be a big uptick in demand for next-generation narrow-body aircraft. That’s good news for our customers, our people and our shareholders.” 

Jetstar, a low-cost subsidiary of Qantas, already committed to purchasing 100 A320s. Joyce explained that “The ability to combine the Jetstar and Qantas order for the A320 type was also a factor” in choosing Airbus for its narrow-body fleet renewal.  

In addition to undermining the return of the Boeing 737 MAX, this is another blow for Boeing on the Australian market. The manufacturer already lost the race for the ultra-long-haul routes of Qantas’ Project Sunrise. The airline picked Airbus’s A350-1000 as its preferred aircraft over the Boeing 777X. On May 6, 2021, Qantas Airways announced that Sydney had been chosen as the launch city for its non-stop flights to London and New York, commencing in 2024. 


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