MIAMI — Delta Air Lines has taken delivery of its long-awaited Airbus A220-100, formerly known as Bombardier CSeries CS100. The Atlanta-based airline is the largest A220-100 customer, with a firm order for 75 aircraft.
With this delivery, Delta becomes the first airline in America to operate the Canadian-manufactured plane after a long battle against Boeing.
The airline will bring the A220 into service in January 2019, joining airBaltic, Swiss, and Korean Air as the other three operators of the aircraft type.
The new plane
The new jets will bring Delta an increased range and fuel efficiency on its 100-seat plane market. Currently, the airline relies on the 110-seat Boeing 717-200s for its smaller mainline flights.
“It is with great pride that we take delivery of our first, state-of-the-art A220-100,” said Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian.
“We have big plans for our A220 fleet and are confident that Delta customers and Delta people alike will be delighted with the in-flight experience provided by this thoroughly modern and efficient aircraft. We value our longstanding partnerships with Airbus and Bombardier and are grateful for the great design and manufacturing work done by the team here in Mirabel.”
From the Airbus side, Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus’ commercial aircraft business, said, “When a great airline like Delta puts a new aircraft into service as a platform for their outstanding passenger service, the entire industry takes note. The A220 team is gratified by the confidence that the Delta family has placed in this excellent, Canadian-born aircraft.”
The Game Changer For Delta
During an exclusive interview with Airways, Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian said that when looking for an alternative to the Boeing 717, the Airbus A220 was the right choice.
“We need to find something that’s going to be more fuel efficient, something that’s going to create a greater range, and a greater bandwidth of options and the CSeries (A220) fit the bill,” he said.
While the Boeing 717 is a quality aircraft and Delta paid pennies on the dollar for them (most Delta 717s are former AirTran aircraft on lease from Southwest Airlines), it does lack the range for many domestic missions.
The A220-100, on the other hand, offers over double the range of the Boeing 717 (1,415 miles vs. 3,100 miles) at highly efficient numbers. For Delta, this means the A220-100 can easily operate many missions the 717 cannot.
The A220-100 will also allow Delta to operate smaller narrow-body aircraft on “short and thin” routes (longer distance routes with fewer passengers).
The aircraft is configured with 109 seats, which consists of 12 First Class seats in a 2-2 layout, 15 Delta Comfort+ Seats and 82 Economy seats in a 2-3 layout.
All seats will also feature IFE screens, with power outlets USB Ports and 2Ku Wi-Fi onboard.
The cabin will also feature the largest overhead bins, largest windows, as well as the best LED ambient lighting, compared to other aircraft at a similar size.
Delta also said that its Economy Class seats will be the widest in the fleet, with a width of 18.6 inches.
The airline also stated that its IFE screens in first class will be the widest in the fleet, however, they haven’t announced the size these will be.
Tim Maples, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer said that “This aircraft is the culmination of years of listening to our customers and responding with design innovations that continue to improve Delta’s domestic in-flight experience.”
He then added, “From high-resolution seat-back entertainment screens to the widest Main Cabin seats in our fleet, the A220 will deliver an experience our customers will look forward to every time they fly.”
First Scheduled Flights: New York-LGA to Boston, Dallas
Last week, Delta opened up bookings for its two first inaugural flights with the new Airbus A220-100.
The first A220 flight will operate from LaGuardia to Boston (BOS) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). These flights went on sale on October 13 and are sold out.
Airways will cover both inaugural flights with dedicated teams on each plane, attempting to offer a minute-by-minute coverage through the aircraft’s WiFi connectivity.
On top of this, Delta published other routes the A220 will be deployed on, including the start months.
The Detroit (DTW) to DFW route will be operated by the A220 starting in March; with LGA to Houston, starting in April.
Salt Lake City (SLC) to DFW starts in May, with Minneapolis (MSP) to DFW, commencing in June.
Houston (IAH) to Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City all start in July; closing up with New York (JFK) to DFW, starting in August.
Stay tuned for more Delta Airbus A220 news on Airwaysmag.com