This morning, following a short flight from East Midlands, a brand new Airbus aircraft was shown off for the first time. The aircraft is the first A220-300, formerly known as the Bombardier CS300, with registration C-FFDO. Airbus’ newest single-aisle aircraft, the A220 is the by-product of a partnership between Airbus and Bombardier.
Once painted in Airbus colors in the United Kingdom, the aircraft was immediately flown to Airbus’ facilities in France. Arriving at the Henri-Ziegler Delivery Centre, near Toulouse, France, a crowd of Airbus employees and members of the media greeted and cheered when the aircraft performed a low pass. The A220 finally landed at 12:25 p.m. wearing its new Airbus name and colors.
For now, the A220 family will comprise of two models, the A220-100 and A220-300, or what we formerly knew as Bombardier CSeries aircraft CS100 and CS300. The aircraft type is fully optimized for the 100 to 150 seat market and will pursue to fulfill the lower seating segment of Airbus’ portfolio.
It is expected that the European consortium will push the A220 variants as feeders for the A320neo family, as the 100-150 seaters have always worked as such in the traditional hub-and-spoke route distribution system. Besides the segmentation, Bombardier’s design was proven both solid on the operational aspect and comfortable for passengers. The aircraft is currently utilized by airlines such as SWISS and airBaltic.
“Everyone at Airbus has been looking forward to this historic moment. Today, we are thrilled to welcome the A220 to the Airbus family and are honored to see it wearing its new Airbus colors for the first time,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus President Commercial Aircraft. “I pay tribute to all the women and men at Bombardier and the supply chain who have strived over the past years to bring this fantastic aircraft to the world. The A220 now enters a new phase in its career with all Airbus’ resources behind it to further its commercial success worldwide.”
Eric Schulz, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer, added: “We are enthusiastic about selling the A220 thanks in particular to its technology which gives it a decisive edge in a very competitive market. I have received a lot of positive feedback from customers regarding the aircraft’s outstanding passenger experience, its lower fuel burn, lower weight and quieter engines. All these reasons contribute to my optimism that Airbus will support to make the A220 a great commercial success.”
The Bombardier aircraft in Airbus colors is already proving to be a successful venture for the European manufacturer as New York-based JetBlue Airways has placed an order for 60 of the type to replace its Embraer E190 fleet. The order is a surprise for many who thought that the logical step for JetBlue would be the new E190 E2.
With JetBlue phasing out its Embraer fleet in favor of the new Airbus aircraft, the airline will transition into an all-Airbus fleet, which it hasn’t been since 2005. Although purchased while the aircraft was still called a Bombardier aircraft, Delta Air Lines was the first U.S. airline to invest in the type, spurring the trade dispute that paved the way for Airbus to enter the program in a direct assault on American aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
Additionally, some have speculated that the name of the aircraft, A220, was chosen because the United States levied a 220 percent tariff on the aircraft at Boeing’s request in possibly another jab at the American manufacturer from Airbus and Bombardier. However, neither Airbus or Bombardier have confirmed this and it’s entirely possible that it is merely a coincidence.
Technology and systems expert, occasional spotter, not-so-dynamic midfielder, blogger, husband, father of three cats; he believes that Latin America's aviation industry past, present, and future offer a lot of stories to be told.
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