Why Qantas Should Order The Airbus A220

If you have been reading Simple Flying for the last couple of months, then you know how much we love the Airbus A220.

And we are not alone, with Delta doubling down on its mammoth A220 order and many other airlines across the world also grabbing their own before the waiting list becomes too long. In fact, the A220 program has already sold 537 units.

AirBaltic loves the A220 Photo: AirBaltic

What makes the A220 so good for Airlines?

The A220 has some amazing pros and then some odd cons that place it in a very unique space in the industry.

  • It has a great range, able to fly up to 3,200nm (5,920km). It is also ETOPS approved, meaning it can fly more than 3 hours outside of the range of land (such as the west coast of USA to Hawaii).
Some of the routes now possible on the A220. Source: Airbus
  • It is super comfortable to fly in, with more room for standard economy passengers and even has windows in the bathroom. And these can’t be made smaller to add in more rows, as they are part of the bulkhead (A win for passengers for once!).
  • Easily to fill up. Because it is smaller, it is easier to sell out all the seats than a bigger jet, making it more profitable.
  • Because it is new and from a new manufacturer (Canada’s Bombardier) it utilizes a whole new range of modern technology that simply was not around in the last generation of plane designs. This means that the plane is cheaper to fly and cheaper to maintain as well.
  • The A220 can use smaller runways than bigger planes (like the Boeing 737).
  • But as it is small, it can only carry around 100 passengers (there are bigger versions that can carry more passengers, but it is silly to think it could compete with an A321neo or Boeing 797).

For these reasons, we also believe that British Airways should buy the A220 and use it in their fleet.

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You can read more about why the A220 is so good here, and why it might be the plane that finally beats the very famous Boeing 737.

Why should Qantas have the A220?

It may come to a surprise to hear that Qantas has actually been considering the A220 since last August.

Found in their end of financial year statements from 2017/2018, a slide showed Qantas has started to look at replacing its aging fleet of regional aircraft.

The average age of each Qantas plane type. Source: Qantas

And boy do they need to. As you can see from the slide above, Qantas has a very old fleet of domestic regional aircraft, some of which are actually the oldest that they operate (Over 25 years in operation wow!). Specifically, these are seventy-five B737s, twenty B717-200s, seventeen Fokker 100s, and forty-five Dash 8-200/-300/-400s. Most of which could be replaced by the A220.

A Qantas Q300. Source: Qantas

“…We need to stay ahead of the curve and always be looking at new technology out there for the ultimate replacement of our fleet” – Qantas CFO Tino La Spina

Qantas domestic regional route map. Source: Qantas

If replaced by A220 aircraft, they would be put to work flying on all of the domestic routes around Australia (to some of the most remote places in the world) and over to New Zealand. It will also solve the problem of some cities only having limited connectivity (having to fly to the state capital first, then onto the destination city), with routes linking regional centers to other state capitals (Like Bendigo, Victoria, to Sydney, New South Wales).

Making the upgrade even more very attractive is that the A220 can use the existing runways designed for smaller aircraft and without modification.

With the bigger range of the A220, it also opens up opportunities to fly smaller and more profitable direct routes to the south pacific and other remote destinations in Asia, capturing seasonal demand like never before.

The only reason these existing regional aircraft have not been replaced already is that they provide an essential service for these communities and cannot be grounded for a long period of time.

Qantas’ plan for new aircraft over the next decade. Notice that the A220 is under consideration, as well as the 797. Source: Qantas

Whilst there is a possibility that Qantas may also order the Embraer E2 (Or even both or none at all), our money is on the A220 taking it home.

What do you think? Will the A220 find its home at Qantas?

  1. BS. If you want to be taken as serious publication, author has to talk to Embraer, Qantas and Boeing as well. This article is just a wet kiss to Airbus, there is no serious comparison between the Airbus and Embraer products, yet his money is on A220.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. E2s actually have a lot to offer and that one sided article above… Not sweet. Please be a professional publication.

      1. Thanks for the comments Paul and Lins. This article is specifically about why the A220 would be a good fit for Qantas, rather than should Qantas get the E2 or the A220. The reason we sided with the A220 is that:
        – There have been double the orders for the A220 than the E2 during this time period.
        – No airline in Australia has ordered the new A220 yet, and any rumors about it are very exciting.
        – Airbus is currently ramping up production of the A220 in a big way, and the E2 has to catch up.
        But here is a mini comparison:
        Jet: E195-E2 vs A220-300
        Passengers: 96 vs 108
        Range: 2,600 nmi (4,800 km) vs 3,200 nmi (5,920 km)
        And it’s about the same for other factors. I bet that the A220 is more fuel efficient too. Simply put, the A220 is newer and more exciting aircraft to write about. But as I mentioned in the article, Qantas are still also considering the E2, but I know which I’d rather fly on.

        1. Nicholas,

          While I agree with your assessment, I’d just like to correct you on a couple of points:

          The two versions of the A220 are the -100 and the -300

          The -100 has 108 (8J + 100Y) to 133 (1-class) seating and a range of 2,950 nmi / 5,460 km

          The -300 has 130 (12J + 118Y) to 160 (1-class) seating and a range of 3,200 nmi / 5,920 km

          The E190-E2 has 96 (12J @38 in +84Y @31 in) or 104 @31 in, 114 max @29 in and a range of 3,250 nmi (6,020 km).

          The E195-E2 has 120 (12J @36 in +108Y @31 in) or 132 @31 in, 146 max @28 in and a range of 2,600 nmi (4,800 km)


        2. (I work for Embraer, for the sake of transparency) I just want to point to a simple fact; A220 is not newer… E195-E2 is to be certified this year, with all the latest and greatest tech. Plus it is actually newer than the A220 in all other program aspects; from design start, program launch, first flight and certification. The E2 is newer. Plain fact.

  2. Boeing was a jerk when reporting a product that did not even compete with 737, but you can not come out talking about the A220 as the eighth wonder of the world.

  3. Unless I’ve missed something, no Airbus ever made book specifications. Be more balanced if you don’t want people to unsubscribe. Delta were the only US carrier to use Microsoft tablets and phones for their crews, when the rest of the world got iPads and iPhones, so their thinking pretty flawed and they were a laughing stock for a while. This is no different.

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