Qantaslink’s new Airbus A220 takes first flight

A Qantaslink A220 lands at Canberra
Photo Credit: Qantas

Qantaslink has operated an Airbus A220 on commercial operations for the first time today. The inaugural flight landed in the Australian national capital this morning, 1 March, 2024.

QantasLink has ushered in a new era for Australian domestic and regional travel with the first commercial flights of its brand new Airbus A220 aircraft.

Marking a significant milestone in the airline’s fleet renewal program, the A220 promises a more comfortable, sustainable, and connected travel experience for passengers across the country.

A220 First Commercial Flight

The inaugural A220 flight, QF1266, took off from Melbourne this morning, bound for Canberra. It will also begin operating select flights on the Melbourne-Brisbane route, offering passengers a glimpse into the future of regional travel.

The A220 boasts several advantages over its predecessor, the Boeing 717. Its ultra-modern cabin features large windows, spacious overhead lockers, and specially designed seats, creating a more pleasant and relaxing environment for passengers.

Additionally, the aircraft is significantly quieter and consumes 25% less fuel, contributing to Qantas’s commitment towards carbon neutrality.

Doubling the Range

With nearly double the range of the 717s, the A220 unlocks new possibilities for domestic travel. It can connect any two major cities in Australia, opening up potential for future route expansion even to offshore destinations.

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QantasLink CEO Rachel Yangoyan highlighted the positive impact the A220 will have on the travel experience. “These next-generation aircraft will make a real difference for our customers,” she emphasized. Passengers can expect features like:

  • Comfortable seating: Wider seats in Economy with increased padding and a 2-3 configuration offer more legroom and personal space.
  • Improved connectivity: Fast and free Wi-Fi allows seamless online access, while the enhanced Qantas Entertainment App lets passengers stream content directly to their devices.
  • Enhanced in-seat features: Both Economy and Business classes come equipped with integrated personal device holders, USB A and C charging ports, and (in Business class) additional wireless charging pads.
  • Spacious cabin: The A220 boasts the largest windows of any single-aisle aircraft, creating a sense of airiness and spaciousness.

A Phased Rollout with New Routes

QantasLink plans to progressively integrate the A220 into its network. The third aircraft is currently in production and expected to arrive in June, followed by four more by mid-2025.

This will pave the way for the A220 to take flight on routes like Melbourne-Hobart (from July), Melbourne-Coffs Harbour (from October), and Melbourne-Launceston (from November).

The arrival of the A220 marks a significant step forward for QantasLink and Australian domestic travel. This is the first operation of an A220 in Australia.

The Airbus A220 is a family of single-aisle, narrow-body airliners designed for the 100- to 150-seat market segment. It boasts several key features that make it a popular choice for operators as well as passengers.

Operational Advantages:

  • Versatility: With nearly double the range of its predecessor, the A220 can connect more destinations. This potentially opens new route options for airlines.
  • Flexibility: The A220’s size and performance make it suitable for a wider range of airports, including noise-sensitive ones, offering airlines greater operational flexibility.

Overall, the Airbus A220 stands out as a modern and efficient aircraft that prioritizes passenger comfort, sustainability, and operational flexibility.

Its growing popularity reflects its ability to meet the evolving needs of airlines and passengers in today’s travel landscape.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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