The deal should push the total orderbook for the Airbus A320 family over the 8,000-aircraft mark, as Airbus already held firm orders for well...

Qantas Group and Airbus have finalized a contract for 110 A320-family aircraft, to help with the airline group’s fleet-renewal and expansion plans in the coming years.

The deal should push the total orderbook for the Airbus A320 family over the 8,000-aircraft mark, as Airbus already held firm orders for well over 7,900 A320-family jets.

According to Airbus, the firm order for 78 A320neos and 32 A320s is the largest single order in Australian aviation history by aircraft units. The firm order follows a commitment signed by Qantas Group in August.

The new aircraft will be deployed across the Qantas Group on short-to-medium-haul domestic and international operations. The order underpins the airline’s commitment to build a fleet with the most fuel efficient and reliable aircraft in the market, according to Airbus.

On October 6, 2011, Qantas Group firmed an 78 A320neos for its Jetstar family of low-cost airlines, among them new joint venture Jetstar Japan. In placing the A320neo order, Qantas Group also ordered 32 more examples of the current-generation A320 for its Jetstar carriers

“The Airbus A320 will be the launch aircraft for Qantas’ new, premium airline based in Asia and will support Jetstar’s expansion plans – including the establishment of Jetstar Japan,” says Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO. “The A320 family’s outstanding operational efficiency and comfort, plus its environmental credentials, make it the right choice for the Qantas Group.”

“We are delighted that our A320neo and A320s are playing a vital role in Qantas’ future strategy,” says John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer, customers. “Coming from one of the world’s great aviation pioneering companies, this order is a great endorsement of Airbus and of our eco-efficient aircraft products.”

The Airbus A320neo offers two new engine options for the A320 family, the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G and the CFM International LEAP-1A. The first A320neo will enter service in 2015 and will be powered by PW1100G engines, since the PW1100G is farther along its development path to entry into service than the LEAP-1A, which will not enter service before 2016. The A320neo will also feature large “Sharklet” wing tip devices.

Qantas Group will make its A320neo engine decision at a later date, according to Airbus.

Airbus says that, together, the use of the new engines and Sharklets will deliver 15 per cent in fuel and CO2 emission savings compared with existing A320-family jets.

A Jetstar Airbus A321-200 begins its take-off run on Runway 27 at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport, on a flight to Brisbane. Jetstar's various domestic and short-haul airline brands operate a large fleet of A320s and A321s and its long-haul operation uses A330-200s. Through its parent Qantas, Jetstar also has 15 Boeing 787-9s on order

A320-family orders to date already include at least 7,926 aircraft (as of the end of September) and the Qantas Group order should push the orderbook total for the family to more than 8,000 aircraft.

Another 130 aircraft, from an order for 130 A321s and 130 A320neo-family aircraft already announced by American Airlines and Airbus on July 20, have not yet been recorded in Airbus’ A320-family orderbook total – presumably because the two companies have not yet reached final terms on half of the aircraft in the deal.

To date more than 4,790 A320-family aircraft have been delivered, to more than 330 customers and operators worldwide.

The A320neo will have over 95 per cent airframe commonality with the existing A320 models while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometers) more range or two tonnes more payload.

Airbus has received orders and commitments for 1,245 A320neos since the launch of the program 10 months ago, in December 2010.