MIAMI — The first Airbus A220-100 (former Bombardier CSeries CS100) for Delta Air Lines has rolled out of the paint shop at the Bombardier assembly line in Mirabel, Canada.
The manufacturer claims that the plane will now move to the final assembly stage before taking off on its first test flight during this coming fall.
Estimated entry into service date for this plane is early 2019.
The Atlanta-based carrier will become the first US carrier to take delivery of the Airbus A220.
The first batch of A220s will be based in New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX).
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’s a tremendous feeling of accomplishment to know we just outfitted North America’s first A220 from tail to tip,” said Julie Léveillé, an Airbus supervisor on site.
“I’ve been working in the paint shop for 15 years. It can be a challenging job, but seeing the finished product makes it worth it,” she said.
According to the airline, the painting process took over 165 gallons of paint, 200 rolls of masking tape, and nine days of work.
A 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.
In April 2016, the airline ordered 75 Bombardier CSeries 100 aircraft—the largest in the history of the Canadian manufacturer.
Bastian told Airways that Delta “got a great value out of it for being a launch customer.”
However, since Delta placed the order for the 75 A220s, Boeing opened up a dispute claiming that the deal between Bombardier and Delta would put the future of the U.S. aerospace industry, and Boeing itself, at risk.
Boeing alleged that Bombardier sold Delta the CSeries planes for $19.6 million apiece, far below the actual production cost of $33 million.
Boeing qualified this pricing as “dumping” on the part of Bombardier, and it has the effect of driving down pricing on Boeing’s rival 737 MAX 7 aircraft.
The dispute between Bombardier and Boeing ended in January. The Canadian planemaker announced that the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) had rejected the controversial complaint brought by Boeing, that if approved, would have implemented a 292% tax on US imports of the CSeries jet.
The ITC voted 4-0 in favor of Bombardier, striking a massive blow against Boeing, who was frantically looking for ways to curtail Bombardier’s ability to grab a piece of the market in the 110-150-seat market.
Delta admitted being pleased by the ITC’s ruling, which rejected “Boeing’s anti-competitive attempt to deny U.S. airlines and the U.S. traveling public access to the state-of-the-art 110-seat CS100 aircraft when Boeing offers no viable alternative.”
Airbus will open a second final assembly facility in Mobile, Alabama for A220 customers located in
The line, scheduled to open in 2019 and deliver in 2020, will complement Airbus’ existing A320 final assembly line in Mobile.