Status check: Airbus slowly moving forward with A220
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. The latest Airbus order book updates reveal that the A220 sales are indeed slowly moving forward.
As of February 28, 2019, Airbus has 85 orders for A220-100 and 451 for A220-300. Since the previous month, total orders (now standing at 536) increased by just four aircraft, but the change also marked the entrance to new market.
In February 2019, Airbus found the launch customer of the A220 in the Pacific region. Air Vanuatu, the national flag carrier of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, ordered four A220 aircraft, two of both variants available.
Based at Bauerfield International Airport in the capital Port Vila, Air Vanuatu operates to 26 domestic airports and internationally to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia. It began services in 1987. Currently the airline operates a Boeing 737 and ATR 72 fleet.
Over half of all A220 orders are from carriers in North America. In particular, of the 536 current orders, 295 are meant for the airlines in the continent: 40 of A220-100s and 255 of A220-300s. Airbus is building an A220 assembly line in the United States, to facilitate the orders coming from the region. In January 2019, the company launched construction of the facility in Mobile, Alabama. Aircraft production is planned to begin in Q3 2019 with first deliveries scheduled for 2020
In January 2019, Delta airlines expanded its previous A220 order, adding 15 aircraft and converting some A220-100 to the more popular A220-300 variant. In total, the U.S. carrier now has 90 A220 on order: 50 of A220-300 and 40 of A220-100 type, to be delivered by the end of 2023.
In December 2018, Airbus firmed up orders for 120 A220s meant to go to the United States. JetBlue Airways and a start up airline Moxy ordered 60 A220-300 aircraft each.
A220-100 and A220-300 are 100 and 150 seats aircraft formerly known as Bombardier C Series: CS100 and CS300 (accordingly). 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.
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