The Airbus A220 is one of the best new aircraft designs to enter the market. With its modern fuel economics, spacious cabins, and lucrative route potential, Airbus has airlines snapping it up. But did you know there are two types of A220s? What are the differences? Let’s explore.
The Airbus A220
The Airbus A220 began its life at Canadian firm Bombardier as its new regional jet, using advanced composite materials and engineering technologies similar to the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. It was dubbed the CSeries and sold to several airlines, including Delta, SWISS, and airBaltic. However, a trade dispute with Boeing pushed the airframe maker to Airbus for help, who joined the project. You can read more about this event here.
Re-labeled as the A220, the aircraft would fill a niche at Airbus under the prime A320 series, and would effectively replace the A318 ‘Baby Bus’ model. According to projections made by the original builders, the aircraft burns 20% less fuel than the Airbus A320neo and is very competitive against the Boeing 737.
Airbus would offer two versions of the A220, the original A220-300 and a shrunken version, the A220-100.
We begin by looking at the passengers. According to the Airbus website:
- The A220-100 can carry 100-120 passengers depending on the seat pitch. There can be 135 max passengers onboard.
- The A220-300 can carry 120-150 depending on how the airline has configured the aircraft. There can be 160 max passengers onboard.
Most A220s have a seat that is a ‘bucket seat’ that extends the seat pitch at the knees, giving a feeling of 34 inches of legroom with only 30 inches of pitch.
Airlines can also choose to remove lavatories and other service areas to fit in a few more seats.
While many aircraft exist on the market that can provide 100 seats, few can do so and also offer an impressive range like the A220.
- The Airbus A220-100 has a range of 6,390 km or 3,450 nautical miles.
- The Airbus A220-300 has a range of 6,297 km or 3,400 nautical miles.
When Airbus joined the project, it was able to improve the maximum take-off weight of the aircraft and thus boost its already impressive range. The A220-300 has the same fuel tank and engines of the A220-100, and therefore it is only the extra passengers that lessen the range.
The next evolution of the A220
Looking at these numbers, you might think that perhaps the A220 could be stretched further, to say an Airbus A220-500.
While it is possible and rumored that airline customers want this product, Airbus is reluctant as the design might cannibalize their existing (and popular) Airbus A320 line. After all, looking at the passenger numbers, we can see that the 150 A220-300 gets close to the numbers of the Airbus A320 series.
If the pattern holds and an Airbus A220-500 carries 30 more passengers than the smaller A220-300 (180 passengers), it would be a direct counter-aircraft to the older A320neo. Effectively, the same aircraft but far more efficient.
What do you think of these two aircraft? Let us know in the comments.