Airbus has began an extensive tour of the Pacific region to showcase the A220. The move is more than logical, given the jet’s stagnant sales in the region.
The tour includes nine destinations in seven countries. Static displays and demonstration flights for airline executives are planned at each stop, the Toulouse-based manufacturer announced on October 24, 2019.
In particular, the tour includes the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, Australia (Sydney and Brisbane), New Zealand (Auckland), New Caledonia (Noumea) and Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby), Cambodia (Phnom Penh), and India (Bangalore and New Delhi).
The particular A220-300 aircraft that is taken on the tour is leased from none other but airBaltic. The airline is known for its enthusiasm of the jet, which if taken its CEO’s word for it, is well deserved. During a presentation at the Paris Air Show 2019, Martin Gauss, the Chief Executive Officer of the Latvian airline, noted that the aircraft type allows the airline to breakeven on flights with only 90 passengers and makes viable those commercial routes that were too thin before the A220 came along.
Naturally, the region for the tour was chosen not by accident. As of the end of September 2019, Airbus books show only 14 A220s sold in the region, with the only deliveries made for Korean Air.
Also at the time, Airbus had a total of 525 A220 orders and the sales exceeded a hundred in only two regions: Europe and North America. To appeal more to the later region-based customers, in 2019 Airbus opened a A220 manufacturing facility in the United States (Mobile, Alabama). While the new facility is expected to be fully operational by 2020, manufacturing of the regional jet there has officially began in August 2019.