Sydney - Qantas has confirmed that it will take delivery of 18 Airbus A321neo long-range (A321LR) for the fleet renewal of its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar.

In fact, the first A320neo should have arrived at the end of 2017. But the Australian low-cost airline operator delayed the delivery of the new aircraft by about nine months after weak results of the parent company Qantas. Now a new delivery date is set for mid-2020, with a modification to the original order.

Qantas made a change to the existing order of 99 Airbus (54 Airbus A320neo and 45 A321neo).The Australian company restructured the order for 54 Airbus A320neo and 45 A321LR, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2019.

The first 18 A321LR will be delivered to Jetstar from 2020 to 2022. The Australian low-cost wants to replace first the oldest aircraft in the fleet with new arrivals.

Besides the fleet renewal, Jetstar also aims to expand its network and enter new markets With the 232-seater A321LR.

The planes have a range to fly from Melbourne and Sydney to Bali. It means that we can use some Boeing 787s from Jetstar on other routes, such as Vietnam, China, and Hawaii. Even new routes might be opened,
said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

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The A321neoLR has a maximum takeoff weight of 97 tonnes and features optional extra fuel tanks to enable the aircraft to have a range of up to 4,000 NM.

The A321LR made its maiden flight on January 31, starting a 100 hours flight test program. Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected in the second quarter of 2018.

The Air Lease corporation (ALC) is the launch customer of the aircraft and entry into service is planned before the end of the year.

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