Qantas Issues Update on Boeing 737NG Inspections; Jetstar Details Next Generation A321neo (LR) Cabin
Updated: Jan 11, 2020
Qantas announced Friday that all precautionary inspections of their Boeing 737 NG fleet have been completed. Qantas Group member airline Jetstar has also detailed the next generation cabin design for their new Airbus A321neo LR (Long Range) aircraft.
Today, Qantas announced that all 33 of their Boeing 737 NG aircraft have been inspected for the well-publicized hairline cracks that have appeared on some high cycle aircraft. The location of the cracks is in the “pickle fork” structure between the wings and fuselage and out of an abundance of caution, Qantas expedited the fleet inspection by up to seven months. The inspections, which were completed in a one-week period, revealed three affected aircraft, which were removed from service. All the inspected aircraft had completed around 27K cycles (takeoff and landings) and regulators had called for the inspection of any aircraft with more than 22.6K cycles. In coordination with Boeing and the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the complex repairs will be carried out and the aircraft are expected to return to service before the end of the year. In today’s announcement, Qantas Domestic CEO, Andrew David stated,
“As people would expect with Qantas, we’ve gone above and beyond what was required to check our aircraft well ahead of schedule. We would never fly an aircraft that wasn’t safe. Even where these hairline cracks are present, they’re not an immediate risk, which is clear from the fact that checks were not required for at least seven months. Unfortunately, there were some irresponsible comments by one engineering union yesterday, which completely misrepresented the facts. Those comments are especially disappointing given the fantastic job our engineers have done to inspect these aircraft well ahead of schedule, and the priority they give to safety every day of the week.”
Jetstar Unveils A321neo (LR) Cabin
Today, Qantas Group subsidiary Jetstar unveiled the cabin design for their 18 Airbus A321neo Long Range (LR) aircraft, which will be delivered between August 2020 and mid-2022. Jetstar will be first in Australia and the Pacific to operate the quiet and fuel efficient A321 LR and the aircraft will be configured in a 232-passenger single class layout. In today’s announcement, Jetstar Group CEO, Gareth Evans said,
“With 15 per cent fuel saving, our new NEOs have been designed to offer maximum comfort for the lowest fares. Combining a smaller environmental footprint together with wider, ergonomic seats, greater stowage and in-flight streaming for personal devices, we think our customers are going to love them.”
The aircraft will be powered by CFM LEAP engines that are not only fuel efficient, but also offer a noise reduction of around 50%. Some of the features of the new cabin include ergonomic Recaro seats, 40% larger overhead bins, in seat USB power and flip-down device cradles, and color LED cabin mood lighting. Jetstar’s 18 A321neo LRs are part of a larger Qantas Group order of 109 A321neos, including a total of 36 extra-long-range variants. The new aircraft will ultimately allow Jetstar to operate on longer routes such as Sydney to Bali, Avalon to Bali, Melbourne to Nadi (Fiji) and Cairns to Auckland.