DALLAS — The Airbus A220 aircraft has become a favorite in the 100-to-150-seat category for airlines and passengers alike. We’ll dive into the type’s momentum, starting off with its latest order.
Just last month, Air Canada (AC) bolstered its previous Airbus A220 order with an additional 15 aircraft that will swell the ranks of AC’s A220 to a total of 60 aircraft by the end of 2026.
The original order, placed in 2016 with the manufacturer, Bombardier, included 45 firm orders with the option for 30 more aircraft. As of November 2022, 31 aircraft currently operate in the AC fleet.
These new 15 aircraft will be assembled in Montreal, Quebec, making the aircraft truly Canadian.
This expanded order for the A220, built up the road from our Montreal headquarters, is an important development in the modernization of our fleet and a clear indication that we are emerging from the pandemic solidly positioned for the future…Michael Rousseau, President and CEO, Air Canada
What Makes Air Canada’s A220 Great?
At 137 seats, the A220 serves as a testament to the airline’s commitment to passenger comfort and experience. The type is split into two cabins. In the forward cabin, AC offers 12 North American business-class seats. These seats offer supreme comfort and prestige with a comfortable 37-inch pitch. The remaining 125 seats comprise the typical economy class in a 2×3 configuration.
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A 19-inch seat width reinforces that the A220 was built with comfort in mind. All seats offer both USB-A and USB-C ports, enabling any passenger to charge their device regardless of what type of USB their charging cable has.
Canada as a country has always been concerned with its global environmental footprint. The A220 helps aid Canada’s and Airbus’s mission to be a “green” manufacturer by reducing fuel consumption as well as CO2 emissions.
Compared to its predecessors, the A220 presents a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions as well as fuel consumption per seat.
A different type of pollution that is not mentioned often enough, noise is also lowered by operating the A220. In airports with strict noise abatement policies or airports with standard noise emission reduction policies, the A220 may be able to benefit the public as well as the airline.
This alone helps towards making a sustainable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective aviation industry for Canada.
A Checkered Past
With the success of AC’s A220, the aircraft did have defeats in the mid to late 2010s. In 2017, Airbus acquired a majority stake in the Bombardier C-Series project in a landmark deal between Airbus, Bombardier, and the Government of Quebec.
The acquisition helped tremendously in making Airbus a global leader in medium-sized aircraft. The almost untapped demand for a 100-150-seat single-aisle aircraft would skyrocket for the foreseeable future.
Keep in mind, this is in a pre-COVID aviation industry where air travel was on a steady rise. The partnership would quash any financial woes plaguing the C-Series project, as well as scale up the aircraft’s production.
Canada as a whole would also benefit from this newly formed partnership by keeping production Canadian. Airbus currently employs over 4000 Canadians and creates 23000 indirect jobs in the Canadian aerospace sector.
The A220 Around the World
Not only has the A220 seen success in Canada, but also worldwide. As of September 2022, there were 227 A220 family aircraft in commercial service around the globe. The A220 aircraft has seen particular popularity in Europe and North America, where over 90% currently operate.
The five largest A220 operators are Delta Air Lines (DL) with 57, airBaltic (BT) with 36, AC with 31, SWISS (LX) with 30, and JetBlue (B6) with 12.
Outside of North America and Europe, airlines such as Air Tanzania (TC), Air Senegal (HC), and Air Manas (ZM) operate the A220 in their respective regions. EgyptAir (MS) of Cairo also operates 12 A220-300 aircraft.
The Airbus A220 remains in very high demand, with just over 120 orders in 2022 alone. As of November 2022, over 780 total A220 orders have been placed from airlines around the world.
Until the foreseeable future, AC remains the only Canadian operator of the A220.
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Featured Image: Air Canada A220 taxiing Photo: Casey Groulx/Airways