For some, the Airbus A220 has become the savior and the backbone of an airline’s fleet. When Airbus announced that the company has completed the purchase of a majority stake in the CSeries program, the queue for the aircraft increased significantly. By the end of 2017, the firm order backlog for the CS100 and the CS300, which turned to the A220-100 and the A220-300 stood at 348 jets, according to Bombardier. Just a year later, Airbus announced its 2018 results – including with the first 20 deliveries of the A220, the backlog increased to 480 of the Canada-built jets. However, since then, big orders are few and very far between and the long-term sustainability of the program is questionable.
Nevertheless, the European aircraft builder is confident that the A220 has “all the credentials” to capture the 100-150 seat market, estimated to be responsible for 7,000 aircraft. However, just like in August 2019, the question remains to this day – is there truly a demand for the aircraft at this moment?
Airbus has announced its commercial results for September 2019, reflecting upon the orders and deliveries the manufacturer has secured through the 30-day period. The manufacturer delivered 71 aircraft in total, 30 more compared to August 2019. Out of the 71 aircraft, 55 were narrow-bodies: 48 from the A320 family and seven A220s.
While Airbus has increased its A220 productivity, as the Toulouse-based company delivered four more A220s compared to August 2019, its sales campaign was rather lackluster. The manufacturer managed to secure only two customers for its smallest single-aisle jet – two undisclosed airlines made a firm commitment to take up ten and four Airbus A220 aircraft, respectively.
In total, 435 A220s are lined up to enter the manufacturing process, with 116 Letters of Intent or Memorandums of Understanding for the aircraft pending final signatures to seal the deals. Several more airlines, including Interjet, are lingering around with the idea of ordering Airbus A220 aircraft.
But for now, the month of September brought only a sliver of the hoped demand for Airbus. It was an improvement compared to August 2019, when the manufacturer netted zero orders for the A220, which is supposed to capture the lion’s share of 100 to 150 seat aircraft market. When both factories in Quebec and Mobile are in full swing, Airbus hopes to build over 14 aircraft per month.
Question is, where will these jets go if the demand is still fairly lackluster? Considering that compared to August 2019, Airbus’ A220 backlog increased by only seven aircraft in September 2019?