The global Airbus A220 fleet has mostly escaped the damning effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on international aircraft fleets. While many A220 aircraft were grounded in March and April, most were back on the skies in July and August, but why was this?
Many airlines have been forced to drastically change their immediate fleet plans to cope with plummeting passenger numbers. This has seen almost every airline grounding their A380s, for example. However, different aircraft have fared differently, with one aircraft proving it was the little plane that could despite the pandemic. That was the Airbus A220.
Why is the Airbus A220 favorable?
To understand why the Airbus A220 has been such a favorable aircraft during the pandemic, we first need to look at the pandemic’s effects on aviation. To contain the virus, countries have implemented lockdowns and travel bans.
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As a result of these restrictions, unnecessary travel was largely discouraged, meaning that far fewer people were flying. Some were even unable to travel altogether. With fewer people flying, less money was also coming into the airlines, meaning that many routes, aircraft, and staff worldwide found themselves grounded.
So, where does the A220 come into this?
It turns out that the Airbus A220 really came into its element entering the COVID-19 pandemic. The small, efficient aircraft solved two of the major problems faced by airlines when it came to operating flights.
Starting with its size, the aircraft is perfectly suited to routes that may be quieter. In the configuration used by SWISS, the -100 has 125 seats, while the -300 has 145 seats. By comparison, its A320s come equipped with 180 seats. The smaller capacity of the A220 makes it easier for airlines to fill, even when demand is lower.
However, there is also the efficiency aspect. The oldest A220 in operation is less than five years old, meaning that maintenance would typically be lower. However, the A220 is also exceptionally efficient. Time and time again, while interviewed by Simple Flying, airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss has told us how the A220 far exceeded his expectations in terms of efficiency.
It shows in the figures
The appeal of the Airbus A220 really shows in its usage figures. We worked with our friends over at RadarBox.com to see how many A220s were flying each day. Even at the pandemic’s height, the number of operational A220s in a day didn’t drop below 35. By mid-July, around 90-100 A220s were flying each day once more. More recently, that has fallen back down to approximately 70-80, still twice that seen in April.
Altogether, the A220 is one of the few entities in the industry to bounce back following the rise of the pandemic and remain in a relatively decent position.
Have you flown on the Airbus A220? Let us know how you found it and why in the comments!