QantasLink’s first brand new Airbus A220 aircraft has just rolled out of the paint shop at Airbus’ facility in Mirabel, Canada. However, rather than wearing the standard red and white ‘Flying Kangaroo’ scheme of the Qantas Group parent company, the plane was revealed wearing a green and white indigenous-inspired color scheme.
As previously reported by AeroTime, the aircraft, which is set to arrive in Australia before the end of 2023, is the first of 29 A220s that will be delivered to the Qantas Group as part of its domestic fleet renewal program, gradually replacing the Boeing 717s currently operating flights for Group subsidiary QantasLink across Australia.
Over the past six months, this first QantasLink A220 aircraft has come together at the Airbus factory in Mirabel, Canada. The aircraft has just spent two weeks in the paintshop where the stunning Aboriginal paint scheme was applied, making this aircraft the sixth to join the national carrier’s longstanding Flying Art Series.
The Qantas Flying Art Series was first launched in 1994 with the unveiling of the first Indigenous livery aircraft, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet named ‘Wunala Dreaming.’
Leading Indigenous Australian design agency, Balarinji worked with Qantas to create the fuselage design for all the Flying Art Series liveries in collaboration with Indigenous Australian artists and their families.
The latest Flying Art Series livery features the artwork of the Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker. The scheme tells the ‘dreamtime’ 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, translated as ‘The Two Sisters Creation Story.’
Around 100 painters were involved in completing the livery, with the Airbus team using 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.
“The QantasLink A220s will be a game changer for domestic and regional travel,” said Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson. “These aircraft have the potential to change how our customers travel across the country, with the ability to connect any two cities or towns in Australia.”
The A220 (registration VH-X4A) will undergo a series of routine post-production test flights with Airbus and be fitted with Qantas-specific equipment before being officially handed over to the airline by the end of 2023.
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.