QantasLink has revealed a striking new green-tailed livery for the first of its new Airbus A220 which helm the regional offshoot’s ongoing fleet renewal program.
The first of 29 of the new aircraft on order has now left the paint shop, sporting a highly detailed Indigenous Australian design comprised of 20,000 dots which reflect the artwork of Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker.
Baker’s design tells a Dreaming story of two sisters who cover vast distances travelling across remote Australia together, with the aircraft named after the artwork Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa, known also as The Two Sisters Creation Story.
The new Airbus is the sixth aircraft to feature in Qantas’ Flying Artwork Series which dates back to 1994 when the first Indigenous livery was unveiled on a Boeing 747 known as Wunala Dreaming. All aircraft in the Flying Artwork Series have been painted with designs sourced in collaboration with Indigenous Australian design agency, Balarinji, which works closely with First Nations artists and their families.
Back at the factory, more than 100 Airbus painters worked for two weeks to transfer the design onto the aircraft’s fuselage, using 130 stencils to carefully replicate the work, which the manufacturer said is the most complex livery ever undertaken on this model of aircraft.
Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson said that with twice the range of the Boeing 717 they’re replacing, the new jets will be a game changer for the airline.
“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,” Hudson said.
“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.”
Qantas’ new fleet of Airbus A220s continues to gradually be assembled at Airbus’ assembly line in Mirabel, Canada, with the first plane expected to be formally handed over to Qantas by the end of 2023. Another six are due before the end of 2025.
The new aircraft will be deployed on routes including Melbourne to Canberra along with other domestic and short-haul international routes.
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