Airbus to extend A220 family range

Three years after entering service, A220 Family aircraft (previously Bombardier C Series) will now be offering increased range starting from the second half of 2020, Airbus announced on May 21, 2019.

The changes

The extended range will be allowed by maximum take-off weight (MTOW) increase by 2,268 kg (2.3 metric tonnes), the Toulouse-based manufacturer explained in a statement on May 21, 2019.

The current basic MTOW is at 60.8 t for the A220-100 and 67.6 t for the A220-300. With the new MTOW increase of 2.3 t, the respective MTOW will be 63.1 t for the A220-100 and 69.9 for the A220-300.

“This performance increase is achieved by taking credit of existing structural and systems margins as well as existing fuel volume capacity,” Airbus statement reads. “This will allow airlines to tap into new routes that were not possible before, connecting key cities in Western Europe with the Middle East or from Southeast Asia to Australia”.

How it compares with other aircraft

Currently, three types of aircraft by other manufacturers are most often named as “direct competitors” to A220. After its range increase, the A220 position seems unlike to drastically change in this domain, as the aircraft already has a longer range than one of its “main competitors” and is not going to overtake the other two.

The smaller version, the A220-100, is compared to Embraer E195-E2, which is expected to enter service later in 2019.  Embraer E195-E2 is advertised to have a maximum range of 2,600 nm (4,800 km) range, while A220-100 is currently at 2,950 nm and after MTOW increase should reach 3,400 nm.

The longer and more popular version of the family, the A220-300, is frequently compared to shorter versions of Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies. When set side by side with Boeing 737 MAX 7, of which entry to service is pending, the -300 will offer a shorter range. MAX 7 range is advertised at 3,850 nm (7,130 km). Meanwhile, the prolonged -300 range is to be  3,350 nm. The situation is similar in case of another “competitor”, Airbus A319neo, which flies up to 3,750 nm (6,850 km).

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