Visiting Sydney as part of a tour through the Pacific region and Asia, Airbus has gained Qantas’ interest in the A220.

During a demonstration flight around Sydney, Airbus’ marketing team took Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce for a tour around the aircraft; his response being “it’s a very good aircraft”.

The aircraft, an airBaltic A220-300 registered YL-AAS, seated invited guests consisting of airline executives and select media.

Airbus A220 Tour has Qantas Interested
Airbus A220 Tour has Qantas Interested

From the cabin to the galleys and even the lavatories, Joyce remained impressed with the aircraft during the one hour test flight that nearly flew as far as Canberra.

“To me it looks like a very good aircraft. I think the passengers would love it. It feels very quiet, that’s one thing you do notice. Even the toilets are big.”

CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce via Australian Aviation

David Flynn, the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller, was on board the test flight and captured photos of the cabin featuring Qantas headrest covers:

Airbus says the A220 fulfils all the requirements for flying in Australia, including connections between west and east coasts, connections between north and south shores and non-stop flights to the Pacific Islands.

Australia has a substantial amount of regional flights covered by Fokker 100s and Boeing 717s; Airbus notes that the A220 has the ability to operate similar flights or flights longer than 737s.

Both Qantas and Virgin Australia operate significant fleets of 737s for domestic and short international flights. In terms of low-cost, Jetstar operates the A320 Family with Tiger Air taking in Virgin Australia 737s.

Airbus A220 Tour has Qantas Interested
Airbus A220 Tour has Qantas Interested

As to replacing ageing aircraft, Joyce aims to sort out Qantas’ regional fleet at the same time as the domestic replacement scheme; as the aircraft under consideration overlap quite a bit.

Competing to replace regional aircraft such as the Boeing 717 and Fokker 100 is the Airbus A220 and Embraer E2 Family. Qantas also has the Airbus A320neo Family and 737 MAX on the table for larger domestic replacement options.

The Boeing New Midsize Airplane (NMA)/”797″ is also being assessed and so far Qantas has been greatly impressed. However Joyce respects that Boeing is in a position where launching such a new aircraft would be difficult, due to the 737 MAX crisis and 777X certification campaign.

For Airbus to secure an order for the A220 from Qantas, pricing would have to be adjusted. Although Airbus no longer publishes list prices for aircraft, the 2018 prices saw the A220-100 at $81 million and the A220-300 at $91.5 million.

Joyce remains adamant that these prices are far too high for the airline to arrange a deal, however this could be seen as an early bargaining tactic.

What are your thoughts on Qantas’ interest in the A220?