Qantas Group has confirmed that it will order 12 A350-1000s, 20 A220s and 20 A321XLRs. The news was announced at a ceremony in Sydney attended by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce and Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International, Christian Scherer.
The A350-1000 was selected by Qantas following an evaluation known as Project Sunrise and will enable the carrier to operate the world's longest commercial flights. These will include linking Sydney and Melbourne with destinations such as London and New York non-stop for the first time ever. Featuring a premium layout, the A350 fleet will also be used by Qantas on other international services. The A350-1000 is powered by the latest generation Trent XWB engines from Rolls-Royce.
In the single aisle category the A220 and A321XLR were chosen under an evaluation called Project Winton. The aircraft will be used by the Qantas Group on domestic services across the country, which can extend to over five hours. In addition, the A321XLR offers the range capability for flights from Australia to South East Asia, enabling the Qantas Group to open up new direct routes. The A220 and A321XLR fleets will both be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines.
This agreement is in addition to the existing order for 109 A320neo Family aircraft, which includes the A321XLR for the Qantas Group low cost subsidiary Jetstar.
Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International commented: "Qantas is one of the world’s iconic airlines, with a visionary spirit from its inception over 100 years ago. We are honoured by the confidence that Qantas is placing in Airbus and look forward to delivering to the Group one of the world’s most modern, efficient and sustainable fleets. This decision by Qantas underscores the position of the A350 as the reference long range widebody aircraft."
The A220, A321XLR and A350 are the market leaders in their respective size categories. In addition to offering the highest levels of passenger comfort, the aircraft bring a step change in efficiency, using up to 25% less fuel, a similar reduction in carbon emissions and a noise footprint 50% lower than previous generation aircraft.
All in-production Airbus aircraft are certified to fly with a 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blend, with a target to increase this to 100% by 2030.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “For more than 100 years, Qantas has been at the forefront of transforming the way the world travels, particularly through direct flights. Now, the A350 and Project Sunrise will make almost any city in the world just one flight away from Australia. It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance that has traditionally challenged travel to Australia.
“Our direct Perth-London flights started in 2017 and showed strong demand for the convenience and time savings from this kind of travel if the product and service is right. Pre-COVID it was the longest route on our network and had the highest customer satisfaction on our network. All signs point to that demand increasing post-COVID.
“The Qantas A350 travel experience will be truly exceptional, particularly across the premium cabins. Our First and Business Class Seats will set a new benchmark for premium long-haul travel.
“The first Project Sunrise flights will be from New York and London, but the aircraft will also be able to operate non-stop flights to Australia from destinations such as Paris and Frankfurt.
“The Australian national carrier also announced 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.
“All of these next generation aircraft – through their lower emissions, longer range, less noise and better economics – will improve how people travel around Australia and overseas.”
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