Qantas’ new Airbus A321XLRs to offer 20-seat business cabin, operate key Asia-Pacific routes

by James Wilkinson

Qantas’ new Airbus A321XLRs, set to join the fleet in 2024, will offer a 20-seat Business Class cabin and fly key South Pacific and Asia routes, the carrier revealed at its first Investor Strategy Day since the pandemic this week (30 May).

Thanks to the single-aisle jet’s phenomenal range, the new Airbus A321XLRs will be able to be deployed on medium-haul routes like Brisbane to Tokyo, Perth to Hong Kong and more, complete with a 20-seat business class cabin.

“These next-generation aircraft will transform our network over the next few years,” said Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce.

“We’ll be able to serve our customers better, reduce our cost base through lower running costs and carve out some new competitive advantages.”

While the new Business Class seats that will headline the new Airbus A321XLRs are yet to be revealed, they will be a significant jump from the exisiting Boeing 737-800 seats and the cabin will also jump from 12 to 20 seats.

The Airbus A321XLRs are also expected to operate on domestic routes and thanks to the larger cabins, which is a win for Frequent Flyers looking to upgrade on Qantas flights.

The range of the Airbus A321XLRs – alongside the smaller Airbus A220s, which are expected to arrive in late 2023 – will likely also see Australia’s largest carrier offer new routes to Asia and the Pacific.

“Range capability in smaller gauge enables profitable entry onto routes unable to be served previously,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

The A220s will be able to operate routes like Perth to Bangkok and Brisbane to Manila and alongside the A321XLRs, they provide Qantas with exceptional opportunities to grow significantly.

“The A321XLRs and A220s deliver an improved mix of range and gauge for markets,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

“They are efficient, versatile aircraft capable of domestic and short- and medium-haul international operations.”