It’s been a wild ride for the Airbus A220, but yesterday – the type celebrated the delivery of the 100th A220 to airBaltic.
The aircraft was delivered at the programme’s headquarters in Mirabel, Canada.
It marks the 100th A220/CSeries aircraft the Final Assembly Line in Mirabel has produced. The first units were sold by Bombardier (who hold a have 34% holding of the programme) under the CSeries Banner (as the CS100/CS300).
Swiss was the first customer of the CS100/A220-100 and airBaltic was the launch customer of the CS300/A220-300.
Since then, airBaltic has re-ordered the type twice as it seeks to standardise on the A220-300 as its fleet replacement. The airline has 20 units.
As usual, the interior is set for a dense 149 passengers in a 2-3 configuration. Even with this configuration, airBaltic. That hasn’t presented issues for airBaltic, who use the type from short-haul operations, right through to its Riga to Abu Dhabi route – a six and a half hour flight.
The type is powered by twin Pratt & Whitney PW1500 “PurePower” Geared Turbofan.
Meanwhile, Airbus is extending the production reach of the A220 family, as it prepares to build the type at its US base of Mobile, Alabama as orders continue to increase for the type. The order book for the type has settled to 530 orders from various operators including Swiss, Delta Air Lines, Korean Air and Air Tanzania.
Slipping into the A319s shoes
The rise of the A220 has filled a useful gap for Airbus – as no-one was buying the Airbus A319neo (and for that matter – the A318… remember that frame?). For Airbus, it’s filled a useful corner of the catalogue – filling in the 100 to 149 seater category. Of course, if you’re looking at any more than that, you would be looking towards an A320neo or equivalent for you fleet… for now,
To quote Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer at the Global Markets forecast this year
The A220 (known as the CSeries) actually brought a lot of value to this market and I do confess the A220 is offering economics that are better than A319. That’s why we brought it for a very expensive Canadian Dollar.
That should sum up how Airbus feels about the type.
The future… an A220-500?
Here’s where things get a little murky. The A220 is ripe for a double- stretch (and thus treading on the A320neo toes), with Air France, touting such an idea at its latest fleet renewal programme. And certainly, there’s interest from one or two airlines.
Indeed, the mission profiles of the A320neo family are changing with more seats being placed in and extending the range and with the A321 being developed into its own family of products, covering mass-transportation, long-distance and long haul missions (A321, A321LR and A321XLR).
Is the A220-500 a possibility? Anything is possible in this world. Ultimately, it will come down to the numbers and how the aircraft can be positioned in the market.
Whilst the C Series/A220 had a difficult start in its life, it’s succeeding in delivering passengers from A to B, whilst keeping operating costs down.
And that’s a success, however you paint it.
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