MIAMI – On June 2, 2020, the first A220 built at Airbus’ Mobile Facility in Alabama, took to the skies for the first time. The A220-300, bearing the test reg C-GPCA was in the air, for nearly 4 hours, covering just over 1000 miles before landing.
It will eventually be delivered to Delta Air Lines (DL) as N302DU. As a result, later this year, DL will become the first North American airline to operate both the smaller A220-100 and the larger A220-300.
Delta will eventually operate a fleet of around 95 A220, consisting of approximately 45 A220-100 and 50 A220-300. DL already operates 31 A220-100, with the first model joining its fleet back in October 2018. Delta expects to take delivery of 6 A220-300 by the end of 2020.
This is a huge milestone for the Mobile facility, as its A220 production officially opened just a few weeks ago. The A220 production site at the mobile will complement the existing A320 production facility there, which has been up and running for a few years now.
It will also complement the original A220 production site in Mirabel, Canada.
How Airbus took over Delta’s order
Begining assembly operations of the type in 2019, the A220 Mobile Facility in Alabama was first announced in October 2017 during the massive legal battle between Boeing and Bombardier over Delta’s large order for 75 Bombardier C Series CS100.
Airbus came in to save the program and took a majority stake, controlling 51% of the program. In July 2018, it renamed the program the A220 and the rest is history.
The legal battle has backfired on Boeing massively. Boeing tried to take on Embraer in a similar way Airbus did with Bombardier and their then C Series Aircraft; however the deal collapsed earlier this year.
Airbus Mobile Facility
The Mobile facility began producing the first A220 in August 2019, using space in the existing A320 line. Now that the A220 facility is online, Airbus will be able to ramp up A220 and A320 production there, albeit after things are back to normal once the COVID19 pandemic dwindles down.
Paul Gaskell, president of A220 USA and Head of the A220 Program in Mobile said a few weeks ago when the A220 production line officially opened:
“The expansion of our commercial aircraft production in Mobile from the A320 Family to the A220 further solidifies Airbus’s standing as a truly global aircraft manufacturer, and confirms that Airbus remains an important part of the American manufacturing landscape.”