Air Austral became the first A220 customer in the Indian Ocean region, Airbus announced on October 14, 2019. The airline, based in France’s Réunion Island, signed a firm order for three A220-300. The deliveries are to start at the end of 2020.
“Air Austral has chosen the A220-300 as part of the renewal of its Medium and Short Haul fleet,” Marie-Joseph Malé, Chief Executive Officer of Air Austral, is quoted in a statement explaining.
“The economic and operational performance of the A220 opens new possibilities for the development of our regional network from our main base – Réunion Island – in an efficient and rational way,” Malé also said. “The 132-seat capacity module, which is more flexible, will allow us to increase our frequencies while offering more comfort to our customers and crews”.
The A220, serving 100-150 seats market, is formerly known as Bombardier C Series. Airbus and Bombardier closed their C Series agreement in June 2018, integrating the aircraft family to the European manufacturer’s catalogue from July 1, 2018.
Airbus expects the demand for 100 to 150 seat aircraft to represent “at least” 7,000 planes over the next 20 years. And with its A220, the manufacturer believes it has full chance of winning “the lion’s share” of the market.
At the end of September 2019, Airbus A220 backlog held “over 500” orders, the manufacturer said.