Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingsford Smith) has taken delivery of its first A220-300, with Airbus Canada handing VH-X4A (msn 55253) over at Montréal Mirabel on late last week. The plane is currently ferrying to Australia. The aircraft's operator will be Qantas Group subsidiary Cobham Aviation Services Australia - Airline Services (QJE, Adelaide International), which will initially deploy it onto the Melbourne Tullamarine - Canberra city pair.

The aircraft is the first of 29 ordered by the Qantas Group to work regional routes around Australia under the QantasLink brand. VH-X4A ferried from Montréal Mirabel to Vancouver on December 16 as QF6075. On December 17, the aircraft continued onto Honolulu under the same flight number. From Hawaii, VH-X4A will fly onto Sydney via Nadi. Qantas PR says VH-X4A will arrive this week. National Jet Systems operates fourteen B717-200s on behalf of Qantas/QantasLink. The A220s will gradually replace those aircraft and also allow for network expansion.

The now former Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce was in the top job when the decision was made to order the A220s. He said the type, along with twenty A321-200NY(XLR)s, will form the "backbone" of the carrier's domestic fleet renewal program over the next two decades. "Their range and economics will make new direct routes possible," he said.

The Qantas Group has almost 300 aircraft on order, which will fly under Qantas, QantasLink, Qantas Freight, and Jetstar Airways liveries. That includes a batch of A321neo going to Jetstar (with those deliveries already underway), modified A350-1000s for ultra long haul Project Sunrise flights, freighter conversions, and narrowbody passenger aircraft.