Qantas First A220 Completes Maiden Flight

Daniel Fowkes
02 Dec 2023
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
Qantas Airbus A220-300 completing its first flight from Canada wearing a special aboriginal flying art livery

Qantas is preparing for delivery of the Airbus A220 as the first unit completed its maiden flight.

Qantas’ First A220 Takes To The Skies

Registered as VH-X4A, the aircraft is expected to be delivered in the coming weeks after further testing.

This will be the first Airbus A220-300 for the Qantas Group as a transition is made towards the next generation of narrowbody aircraft.

The Airbus A220 departed from Airbus’ critical production facility located in Canada, specifically Mirabel of Quebec.

During the almost three-hour test flight, Airbus pilots carried out several standard checks aboard. This involved the electric, navigation and communication systems.

Qantas also says there was a focus on flying at high and low altitudes to determine if the systems were in working order.

Once final tests are completed, the aircraft will be delivered to the Qantas Group, where it’ll be deployed towards specifically QantasLink.

The aircraft will replace the ageing Boeing 717s and substantially improve operations thanks to the enhanced capabilities over previous generation planes.

A Very Special Livery

Towards mid-November, the Australian carrier revealed that its first Airbus A220 would adorn a flying art scheme.

The aircraft was named after the artwork Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa or The Two Sisters Creation Story.

For the visual appearance of the A220, the scheme features strong tones of green throughout the fuselage in a shift from Qantas’ typical red.

Around 100 painters were involved in the massive effort to complete the livery. Airbus says it worked with 130 stencils to replicate the detailed design required.

The livery features over 20,000 dots and is what Airbus calls the most complex livery they’ve ever worked on. Ultimately, such a livery took two weeks to be completed.

For Qantas, this is now the sixth flying art scheme that has entered service. Additionally, it’s part of a continued commitment to honouring the traditional land owners of which Qantas calls home.

Qantas’ first Airbus A220 departing on its maiden flight

Qantas’ Reliance On The Airbus A220

A commitment to the A220 series was announced some time ago by the Qantas Group. This was part of a substantial deal to move towards next-generation aircraft.

The Airbus A220s are slated to replace the existing Boeing 717s. These ageing 717s have been with the company for some time and, while reliable, will make way for next-generation planes.

Ultimately, the A220 is part of the mission to offer more to its passengers. The performance boosts will mean the series can fly further than the 717.

As a result of the range increase, the A220 can reach all corners of Australia. Therefore, the airline has identified the possibility of offering routes not previously possible with the older generation type.

Additionally, with enhanced efficiency, engines and more, Qantas believes the onboard experience will be improved dramatically over the older 717s.

Inside The Qantas Airbus A220s

Once operational, these Airbus A220s are slated to seat 137 passengers in a two-class cabin configuration.

The Australian flag carrier will install ten business class seats alongside 127 in economy class to meet the needs of various travellers. This could entail either leisure or business journeys.

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