Qantas has chosen the Airbus A321XLR to play a major role on its future domestic and Australia/Asia network. The airline announced on June 19 it had converted 26 A321neo’s to the new extra long range-version, while ordering 10 additional XLRs.

Deliveries are from FY2024 and it is yet undecidef which airline within Qantas Group will get the XLR first. “We’ll take a decision closer to the time about which parts of the Group will use these aircraft, but there is plenty of potential across Qantas and Jetstar”, says CEO Alan Joyce “We’ll also take a view on whether they are used to replace older aircraft or whether they are used for growth, which will depend on what’s happening in the market.” Jetstar will get their first of 18 A321LRs next year.

Qantas has been evaluating the A321XLR and Boeing’s NMA for some time. With the XLR launched this week at the Paris Air Show for availability from 2023 and Boeing yet to decide on offering the NMA at all, the Airbus better fits Qantas’ fleet renewal plans.

“We already know the A320 is a great aircraft and this new variant can fly further and more efficiently than any other single aisle jet on the market,” Joyce says. “It can fly routes like Cairns-Tokyo or Melbourne-Singapore, which existing narrow-bodies can’t, and that changes the economics of lots of potential routes into Asia to make them not just physically possible but financially attractive.”

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Richard Schuurman
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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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