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Airbus’ new A220 performing a low approach. (Photo: Airbus)

Delta Sets November Entry for A220-300

Despite the onslaught of aircraft leaving Delta’s fleet as COVID-19 continues to reshape the airline industry, the airline is finally adding the newest bird to its fleet with the introduction of the larger Airbus A220-300 in November. The aircraft is due to begin operations on Nov. 10 and will join the sister aircraft, the Airbus A220-100, in the Atlanta-based carrier’s narrowbody fleet.

The airline will start operations out of Salt Lake City International Airport, which just opened its newest terminal this week, with routes to Austin and Houston officially bringing the aircraft online. These routes will dominate the A220-300’s schedule until San Francisco to Salt Lake City transition to being operated by the A220-300 beginning Nov. 27 to accompany the preexisting routes.

For Delta, the A220-300 will be configured in 130-seat, two-class formations. Delta’s first class will consist of 12 seats in a 2-2 configuration while the main cabin and Delta Comfort+ will have 88 seats and 30 seats, respectively, in rows in a 2-3 configuration. The airline says that the aircraft will come equipped with WiFi, in-seat power for both outlets and USBs and satellite TV via personal video screens. These amenities are offered across all classes.

A Delta A220-100 landing in Dallas/Fort Worth after a proving flight. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ben Suskind)

A Long Journey

Delta’s first A220-300 rolled off the Mobile, Ala. plant back in March but saw a delayed entry into service due to events outside the airline’s control. The reduction in service saw old models leave while new models were delayed into service. However, as demand has returned and fleet trimming continues to occur, the new models gain more value and Delta sees today as the time to introduce the Bombardier- designed but Airbus-built model into service. The airline already has 31 Airbus A220-100s in service, and the aircraft has been in service for over a year.

Delta’s fleet evolution means that the A220 also has added more value over time. The airline recently retired the Boeing 737-700, McDonnell-Douglas MD-88 and McDonnell-Douglas MD-90 as the fleets were either aging or were seen as too niche to be kept in service. The retirement of these models, all of which held between 124 and 160 passengers, makes the addition of a 130-seat Airbus model more valuable for the airline as COVID-19 recovery continues.

Delta will become the eighth operator of the larger A220 variant, following the likes of Swiss, airBaltic, Korean Air, Air Tanzania, EgyptAir, Air Canada and Air Sanai. Delta is the lone operator of the A220 in the U.S. and will eventually have the largest fleet when the 95 aircraft across the two types are delivered. The airline will eventually be joined by JetBlue and Breeze Airways, who have orders for 70 and 60 aircraft, respectively.

Ian McMurtry
Ian McMurtry
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