Qantas Boosts A321XLR Orders, Plans For International Wi-Fi Rollout

Credit: Joe Pries

Qantas has converted more of its Airbus narrowbody backlog to A321XLRs, and the airline is also advancing its plans for inflight Wi-Fi in its international fleet.

The carrier has increased its XLR orders by eight aircraft, boosting its total for this variant to 28. Qantas subsidiary Jetstar is also earmarked to receive XLRs.

The Qantas XLRs are intended to begin the replacement of the airline’s Boeing 737 domestic fleet. The airline also has orders in place for A220s to replace its domestic 717s, and the first two of these have already arrived. The A220s are due to enter service on March 1.

However, Qantas revealed that manufacturing delays have affected the estimated delivery dates for the first A321XLR for the Qantas domestic operation by three months to early 2025.

The A350-1000s earmarked for the carrier’s Project Sunrise ultra-long-range flights have also been delayed, with expected delivery slipping by six months to mid-2026.

Qantas said it will begin the rollout of free onboard Wi-Fi on its international fleet in 2024. The installation program for its A330-200s will be included in their existing heavy maintenance schedule, starting in March. Work will be completed on all eight by the end of 2024. Retrofit work on the 787s, A380s, and A330-300s will occur starting in 2025.

LCC subsidiary Jetstar will introduce onboard Wi-Fi on its 787s from 2026, as part of a cabin refresh program.

Qantas is using broadband services provider Viasat for the international fleet. Wi-Fi had already been installed on its domestic fleet in an earlier program.

Separately, the Qantas Group announced a net profit of A$869 million ($570 million) for the six months through Dec. 31, 2023, its fiscal first half. This was down by 13% versus the previous year.

Adrian Schofield

Adrian is a senior air transport editor for Aviation Week, based in New Zealand. He covers commercial aviation in the Asia-Pacific region.