First QantasLink A220 Prepares For Handover

qantaslink airbus a220 300

The first Airbus A220-300 for QantasLink features a striking Aboriginal-inspired livery. 

Credit: Airbus

One of the final stages before the introduction of the Airbus A220 to the Qantas fleet has been reached with the first test flight of the initial example of the Australian flag-carrier’s 29-aircraft order.

The 137-seat (10 business and 127 economy) aircraft will gradually replace the airline’s fleet of Boeing 717s, as part of the Qantas Group’s domestic fleet renewal program. Unlike its predecessor, the A220-300 will have the range to connect any two cities in Australia. The first aircraft is scheduled to be used on the heavily trafficked Sydney-Melbourne route.

The aircraft features a striking livery that took two weeks to apply by around 100 painters working with 130 stencils. It features 20,000 dots and is the sixth aircraft to join Qantas’ Flying Art Series, which has showcased Aboriginal art since 1994.

The A220’s range is expected to open up new domestic and short-haul international routes as more aircraft enter the fleet and the aircraft will be a game changer for domestic and regional travel. Qantas Group CEO, Vanessa Hudson said.

“These aircraft have the potential to change the way our customers travel across the country. That means faster and more convenient travel for business trips and exciting new possibilities for holiday travel. A whole new fleet type also means a lot of opportunities for our people to operate and look after these aircraft.”

The A220 will undergo post-production test flights with Airbus as well as being fitted with Qantas-specific equipment, before being officially handed over to the airline by the end of 2023.

Another six A220s are scheduled to be delivered by mid-2025.

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.