The first of Qantas’ Airbus A220 aircraft has rolled out of the paintshop in Mirabel, Canada, sporting a striking Aboriginal paint scheme as part of the group’s Flying Art Series.
The livery was created by Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker, and “tells the Dreaming story of two sisters who traverse remote Australia together, covering vast distances to find their way home”.
Around 100 painters were involved in applying the livery, which features over 20,000 dots and is said to be “the most complex livery Airbus has ever completed for this aircraft type”.
Subsidiary QantasLink is scheduled to take delivery of the first of the group’s 29 A220 aircraft before the end of the year, as it gradually replaces its fleet of Boeing 717-200s. A further six A220s are scheduled to be delivered by mid-2025.
The aircraft (named after the artwork Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa) will be configured with 10 business class and 127 economy seats, and will initially operate flights between Melbourne and Canberra.
Qantas said the A220 had almost double the range of its existing 717 aircraft, allowing it to fly between any city in Australia. The group said that the planes would mostly be used to connect smaller capital cities like Canberra and Hobart with major hubs in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Commenting on the news Qantas Group CEO, Vanessa Hudson, said:
“These aircraft have the potential to change the way our customers travel across the country, with the ability to connect any two cities or towns in Australia.
“That means faster and more convenient travel for business trips and exciting new possibilities for holiday travel. A whole new fleet type also means a lot of opportunities for our people to operate and look after these aircraft.”
This summer Qantas announced an order for more A350 and 787 aircraft, in what it called “the final piece of its jet fleet renewal programme”.