Australia’s Qantas selected the Airbus A321XLR last year to replace its fleet of Boeing 737-800s. These are due to start arriving from late 2024, meaning it will be 39 years since the airline originally ordered the aircraft.
They helped Airbus to design the A320, ordered it and then eventually cancelled. History repeated itself to a degree, when Qantas provided extensive input when Boeing designed the 777 and then never placed an order!
TAA Originally Ordered The A320
Trans-Australia Airlines, or TAA for short, was an Australian domestic airline that had a very good relationship with Airbus. They ordered the Airbus A300B4-203, bringing widebody services to the country.
TAA worked with the Toulouse based manufacturer for five years prior to placing their A320 order in December 1985. A wider cabin for better comfort was pushed by the Aussie airline, as well as range to fly coast to coast in Australia from Sydney to Perth, a distance similar to Washington DC to Los Angeles.
Nine Airbus A320s were ordered, after evaluating the Boeing 757, the MD-83 and MD-87, with delivery expected to occur from 1989. Rather ominously, it mentions TAA had ordered 12 Boeing 737-300s five months previously.
Now you might be wondering why I am going on and on about TAA when I specifically mentioned Qantas. Well, TAA aka Australian Airlines was the government owned domestic airline in Australia. It was merged into the government owned international airline, Qantas, to become Qantas’ domestic operation in 1994.
You can now see that Qantas originally ordered the Airbus A320 all the way back in 1985. They decided to cancel their order and instead went to Boeing for the larger 737-400. I imagine fleet commonality was a factor, you would think, but I am not entirely sure what happened.
Qantas then ordered the Boeing 737-800, but that was more of necessity than anything else. Their main competitor collapsed in September 2001 and they needed capacity quickly. An American Airlines order was not required, so they took these straight off the production line, meaning they have been a 737 operator for a very long time now.
As you can see from the top of the picture, QantasLink has had A320s for a little while now, and their wholly owned subsidiary Jetstar has used them for many years. All of that means they have plenty of operational data on the aircraft, and they decided to switch away from Boeing when it came to choosing a new fleet for the future.
Did you know about the TAA Airbus A320 order? Are you surprised Qantas is switching from the 737 to the A320? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Bahnfrend via Wikimedia Commons.
TAA A300 via Ansett Airlines Museum – A Pictorial Journey on Facebook.
Australian Airlines 737 via AussieAirliners.org.