BrianDromey wrote:This is a very interesting order from QF and should work out well for them.
The 717s replaced by A223 was a no-brainer and maybe the P&W commonality helped with the financing/maintenance on the larger NEOs?
It doesn’t seem like there is much 1:1 replacement with the A321XLR. The order is too small for much replacement in any case. This looks like expansion into SE Asia to me, straddling the 738/330 gap. Why take the weight penalty of the XLR on the 75 strong 737 fleet? I expect dozens more A321NEOs for domestic flying.
The lack of A320NEO is the most interesting though. I think the smart money is on Airbus launching the 225. QF didn’t mention it, but did say flexibility for the -100. My guess is they have flexibility on any model in the A220 family, which would include a hypothetical -500.
Overall a great order for QF and Airbus. There will still be 737-800s for many years in the Australian skies though.
Would not be totally surprised if an A220-500 is in the works on the down-low and QF have been advised as such and this is why we don't see any A320NEO orders for them in this tranche. Use the first 20 XLR to displace oldest B738 on longer domestic and Tasman sectors, judge real world performance, and then start a push into regional Asian destinations with additional options being exercised. I also would not be totally surprised to see a simple fuselage stretch of the A321XLR with around 4-5 more rows (24-30pax) but with same operating weights and fuel capacity (ALA 787-10) which should still allow up to 6 hour flights with around 250pax. This would be really good for QF on the domestic trunk routes.