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End of an Era: Qantas Farewells Boeing 717 And Welcomes New Aircraft

End of an Era: Qantas Farewells Boeing 717 And Welcomes New Aircraft

A Boeing 717 airplane operated by Qantas, the first of its kind to be registered and operated in Australia, will depart, signaling the end of an era. The departing 717 (registration VH-NXI) holds a special place in the Qantas Group’s modern history, having operated Jetstar’s first flight between Melbourne and Launceston on the day the airline started flying in May 2004.

The aircraft has also flown on regional and domestic routes for QantasLink for the past 15 years. All up, it has completed more than 29,000 flights and safely carried more than 1.6 million customers for both Qantas and Jetstar over two decades.

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All of QantasLink’s 20 Boeing 717s will be gradually replaced by 29 fuel-efficient Airbus A220 aircraft as part of the “Project Winton” fleet renewal program. The first A220 aircraft is due to arrive later this year and the first of 20 A321XLRs will arrive in late 2024.

QANTAS FAREWELLS “QUEEN OF THE SKIES”(Opens in a new browser tab)

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The departing 717 was flanked at Sydney Airport today by two new arrivals in the fleet – a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and a Jetstar A321neo LR. The next-generation aircraft are part of a significant investment in the fleet renewal that will see the Group take delivery of a new aircraft every three weeks on average for the next few years. The incoming aircraft will help Qantas and Jetstar restore capacity and expand their network while lowering emissions and improving efficiency.

Qantas’ latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Billabong, started flying on the airline’s international network this month, with another two Dreamliners to be delivered over the next three weeks. These additional aircraft enabled the resumption of Sydney-San Francisco flights and will support the launch of the Sydney to New York via Auckland route next month. This will bring Qantas’ 787-9 fleet to 14.

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Jetstar Unwraps Its New A321LR Before Christmas(Opens in a new browser tab)

Jetstar also this month welcomed its seventh Airbus A321neo LR aircraft, which is 50 percent quieter than the older A321s they replace and burn up to 20 percent less fuel. They are operating domestic services and flying between Australia and Bali. The airline will receive another 11 A321neo LR aircraft by the end of 2024.

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Through a combination of new arrivals and standby aircraft returning to service, the Qantas Group has returned to around 100 percent of pre-COVID domestic flying levels and expects to restore 100 percent of international flying by March 2024.

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