Analysts and Airbus appear to be at odds over whether the manufacturer will launch the A220-500, a stretched variant of the A220, at the upcoming Paris Air Show.
According to a report by Bloomberg, analysts at Bank of America are predicting that Airbus could announce the A220-500 as soon as the next edition of the trade event taking place at Paris–Le Bourget Airport (LBG) between June 19, and June 25, 2023. However, the same report also included a statement from the manufacturer that said there are no plans for new products in the “current environment”.
“The A220-100 and A220-300 ramp up are the priority and we’re not launching a new product in the current environment. We have said the A220 stretch is a matter of when and not if, though we are not able to give a timeline,” said an Airbus representative in a statement to AeroTime.
Furthermore, a spokesperson for Airbus told Reuters that the launch of the A220-500 was a question of if rather than when. The publication also cited two sources close to the matter who ruled out an announcement at the Paris Air Show.
Airbus and Pratt & Whitney, the manufacturer of the PW1500G, the only engine option for the A220, have struggled to deal with supply chain issues in recent months. The European aircraft manufacturer missed its delivery target for 2022 and has reiterated that the current operating environment is “adverse”, with CEO Guillaume Faury stating that there are “persistent tensions in the supply chain”.
“We remain focused on delivering the commercial aircraft ramp-up and longer-term transformation,” Faury stated when discussing Airbus’ Q1 2023 financial results.
Meanwhile, Pratt & Whitney’s PW1000G aircraft engine family has also encountered persistent issues, with very slow turnaround times at maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facilities, forcing airlines to ground their PW1000G-powered aircraft, including the PW1500G-powered Airbus A220s.
For example, Martin Gauss, the chairman and CEO of airBaltic, told FlightGlobal that one PW1500G engine was under maintenance for 386 days.
According to ch-aviation.com data, out of a total of 271 Airbus A220s delivered to airlines so far, 62 are currently either in storage or undergoing maintenance, including nine testbeds or aircraft utilized by the manufacturer.