Australia’s Qantas has operated the Boeing 737 on domestic routes in Australia since 1986. The fleet is currently ready for replacement and Qantas will switch to Airbus for the new aircraft.

This will mean that the Qantas Group will become a predominantly Airbus operator, with the only Boeing airliner remaining being the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This is a far cry from the 1970s and 1980s when Qantas only operated planes from the American manufacturer.

Qantas Switch To Airbus

At the moment, Qantas operates a fleet of 75 Boeing 737-800s, some of which have been in service since 2002. In addition, their QantasLink subsidiary has 20 Boeing 717s in the fleet which are also approaching end of life.

The new order is for 20 Airbus A321XLR aircraft, which will start the 737 replacement, and 20 Airbus A220-300s to replace the Boeing 717s on a one to one basis. In addition, they have 94 purchase right options over a 10 year delivery window.


These options are switchable to any A320 and A220 variant, offering flexibility as time passes. What will occur is that the options will be exercised as more of the fleet reaches retirement age, making this a long replacement process.

All aircraft will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines, offering a step change in fuel and noise reduction. A great win for all the parties concerned.

Overall Thoughts

From a passenger point of view the switch to Airbus should make for a better experience all round. The Airbus A320 series is wider than the Boeing equivalent, offering a slightly better on board experience. The smaller A220 provides five abreast comfort in one of the most modern and fuel efficient planes out there. You can see my experience flying on one here.

Deliveries are set to commence from 2024, so it will be quite some time until we see them in service. Either way, it’s a big change for those used to Boeing when flying down under.

What do you think of the Qantas switch to Airbus? Obvious or a surprise? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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