NEW AIRBUS A220: ALL THE DETAILS
The first Airbus A220-300 made its landing in Toulouse. Narrow-body mid-range aircraft, which has just joined the wide model range of Airbus, complementing and expanding it in the segment of 100-160 seats. The new A220 aircraft family includes two models: A220-100 (100-135 seats) and A220-300 (130-160 seats). This is the most modern aircraft in its class, developed from scratch by Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, formerly known as the C-Series - CS100 and CS300. Already now, 38 airplanes of this type are operated in the fleet of three airlines, in total 402 aircraft have been ordered, i.e. Backlog is currently 364 units, moreover, the American JetBlue, the first potential customer of the new A220, has signed an agreement of intent to buy 60 A220-300 aircraft.
I understand that "A220" sounds a bit strange for us so far. Skeptics are perplexed and question the feasibility of re-branding the C-Series. And the fatalists regret the gradually weakening competition in the market, where two giants absorb competitors. In fact, everything is not so simple, the aviation market is developing very rapidly, the rules of the game are changing and the competition is heating up, but in the end we are winning with you - the passengers.
Let's see what the A220 is and what Airbus gets by expanding its product line into a segment of 100-160 seats.
Why did Airbus rename Bombardier?
In fact, only the C-Series was re-branded. Namely, the CS100 aircraft in A220-100 and CS300 in A220-300. In addition to the C-Series, Bombardier also produces turboprop Q-Series and jet CRJ-Series, as well as business jets. Airbus acquired a majority stake (50.01%) from C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), which produced and sold C-Series aircraft. From October 2017 to June 2018, all legal formalities were completed and now is the time for rebranding and integration into the Airbus product line, opening a new A220 family. And this is not just a renaming, the A220 is fully integrated into the Airbus marketing strategy, and from a technical point of view also in the Airbus supply chain.
Who will be the first operator of the new A220?
In fact, the C-Series has been in operation for two years now! Customers transferred 38 aircraft. In June 2016, SWISS became the starting operator of СS100, and in December 2016, the first CS300 was transferred to the Latvian carrier airBaltic. Also the third airline currently operating the C-Series is Korean Air.
Over the past two years, Bombardier has collected a weighty and very positive feedback, which is very good for a completely new aircraft, especially during the so-called "childhood diseases" of any new type. Moreover, European carriers even exploit it very differently, for example, SWISS performs up to 10 segments per day on this type, the plane spends more than 18 hours in work every day! And airValtic performs long flights on CS300, for example, the Riga-Abu-Dhabi flight is 5.5-6 hours! SWISS has already spent more than 65 A-checks (this is a small form of regular maintenance, the interval between “A” check is 850 hours), almost each of these checks is only at night, i.e. the plane returns to work the next morning. More complex forms of service (C-check) have not yet been, as it is held after 8500 hours. At the Mirabel plant in Quebec, there is a Customer Support Center operating 24/7 and collecting real-time data from all the aircraft that are in operation now.
An interesting point is the fact that the planes that are in use are not planning to rename them yet, but I believe that SWISS and airBaltic will gradually move to a new name, following the general marketing plan. In any case, next week at the Farnborough air show there will be both the A220 and one of the airBaltic СS300, let's see how it will be presented.
Where will the A220 be produced?
The main production line is located in the city of Mirabelle (Quebec), 50km from Montreal at the Bombardier plant in Canada. And the second line of the final assembly will be opened in Mobile, Alabama (USA) at the production facilities of Airbus and aircraft will be manufactured there for the American market. The American airline JetBlue has signed an agreement of intent to supply 60 A220-300. In total, at present, the A220 order book is 365 aircraft, last year 17 aircraft were produced, this year it is planned to double this figure!
A220 technology-numbers and facts:
- Aircraft A220 equipped with engines Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1500G. Improved aerodynamics, as well as engines of a new generation can significantly reduce fuel consumption, noise and emissions.
- Total profitability is more than 20% compared with a competitor
- Cruising speed of 829 km / h
- Design "from scratch" and the application of innovative technologies in the design and production (composite wing, more than 40% of composites in the aircraft structure, aluminum-lithium alloys of the new generation, 99% unification between models (single pilot tolerance).
- An interesting fact - the fuselage is not made of composite material precisely because this aircraft is potentially more often on the ground, and in the process of servicing between flights, the probability of damage to the composite increases, which can be unnoticed).
• Maximum fuselage diameter 3.7 m
• Floor width 3.1m
• Maximum height (from the floor in the cabin to the ceiling) 2.11 m
• Wingspan 35.1 m, wing surface area 112.3 m2
• The length of the A220-300 fuselage is 38.7 m, which is 3.7 m longer than that of the A220-100.
• Cruising speed 829 km / h
• Typical two-class layout - 116 seats, max. Single-seat 135 seats.
• Range 5 460 km
• Typical two-class layout - 141 seats, max. Single-seat 160 seats
• Range 5 930 km
And what are the prospects for the A220 family?
Airbus is A220-100 on the market as an aircraft, which is the choice for the discovery of new directions and the development of regional routes. And the A220-300 becomes the best option for the development of the route network, the lowest cost per seat compared to competitors. And in the future, the airline has various and very flexible options for growth with the A320 family. For large countries, the A220 opens up prospects for the development of direct routes between secondary cities, bypassing connecting hubs. Let me remind you that from the point of view of maintenance and repair, the supply of components is integrated into the Airbus supply chain!
The potential is huge, and the forecasts are optimistic and realizable. It remains to greet the new bird in the large Airbus family and wish the A220 good luck in production and sales!