Qantas Ordering Airbus A321XLR & A220-300

Qantas has a fleet renewal plan. It is bad news for Boeing and good news for the passengers.

Qantas is buying new aircraft.

Qantas will use the A320neo and A 220 families of aircraft, with the A320neo and A 220 families being the preferred aircraft types. Up to 134 orders and purchase rights have been signed up for over a decade, with deliveries to start in FY2024. The order is expected to be finalized in FY2022.

What is included in this order?

Qantas has made a firm commitment for 20 of the longest range and largest version of the A320 family.
Qantas has made a firm commitment for 20 A220-300, which is the largest version of the A22 family.
There will be 94 additional aircraft over a 10 year delivery window, which could include other A320neo family aircraft, as well as the smaller A 220-100.
This order is in addition to the existing agreement between the two companies.

Qantas has an existing narrow body fleet of 75 Boeing 737-800s and 20 Boeing 717s. This will be the largest aircraft order in Australian aviation history once finalized.

Qantas is ordering planes.

What surprised me about the Qantas aircraft order.

Qantas has an aircraft order. Both of these planes are incredibly fuel efficient, but they also offer a fantastic passenger experience, which beats what you'll find on Boeing family aircraft.

The A320neo family aircraft can be used for busy routes, while the A220 family aircraft can be used for most other routes. The airline can better match capacity and demand by having two plane types with different capacities.

The only firm A320neo family order is for the A321XLR. Qantas is ordering from the A321neo family because it offers the capacity the airline needs. The extra long range version of the plane is capable of operating flights to Asia that the737 couldn't.

I view it in a different way.

The A321XLR is more expensive than other versions of the plane, so airlines only order them if they have the intention of using them for long haul routes.
Qantas states that the planes will be used between major Australian cities, and that the longer range can also be used to open up new city pairs.
Will Qantas put TVs at every seat, flat beds in business class, and other features on all A321XLRs?

I am not saying that this is a bad decision, but I am saying that it is surprising. Qantas is the first airline to specifically say that A321XLRs are being acquired to operate hour-long flights between major markets.

I think it is possible that Qantas will include the A321neos in some of their options, and that the A321XLR delivery slots are the hardest to get. There is no mention of long haul service in the press release, only that the planes could be used during off peak times between major cities.

Qantas is ordering planes.

The bottom line.

Qantas has signed an agreement with Airbus for the renewal of its narrow body fleet, including ordering a minimum of 20 A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s. Qantas has long relied on the Boeings for its short haul fleet.

It is good news that the narrow body aircraft from Boeing are simply better than the narrow body aircraft from the French manufacturer.

The A320neo family aircraft order is the only one that surprises me, it offers more range than Qantas needs. If these planes are configured for long haul service but only used for short haul service, it would be great for passengers. I don't think that's likely.

What do you think about Qantas ordering aircraft from Airbus?