**Update: 05/24/21 @ 15:42 UTC – An Airbus spokesperson offered a statement; details below.**
The Airbus A220 is praised for its high fuel efficiency that has a better fuel-burn than its competitors in the same range. It is also applauded for its comfort when performing on medium-haul operations. Now, the narrowbody is adding another pull factor to its specifications. The plane’s manufacturer is looking to increase the model’s range.
Kicking it up a notch
The Airbus A220-100 can reach a range of up to 6,390 km / 3,450 NM. Meanwhile, the A220-300 can reach a range of up to 6,297 km / 3,400 NM. It is the latter that David Neeleman is expecting to join his carrier, Breeze Airways, this October. However, the serial entrepreneur feels that the aircraft needs to be able to reach greater distances to fit in with its long-term goals.
The startup is seeking to deploy the Airbus model on trips that last over two hours. Therefore, it will be using Embraer regional jets on shorter distances.
Ultimately, the airline is looking to connect underserved cities. So, it has ordered 60 units of the A220 to help it with its goals.
Neeleman said the following, as reported by Reuters:
“We need to get up to 4,000 (nautical) miles. The A220-300 currently flies about 3,400 NM.”
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The green light
Thus, according to Neeleman. Airbus is going ahead with the plans to increase the range of the A220. Overall, the businessman shares that the decision to increase the range is a given. It’s just about working out the timeline.
He summarized the progress with the following, as shared by Reuters.
“it is underway, so we are … kind of arguing about when. But it is not a matter of ‘if,’ it is just a matter of ‘when.’”
Simple Flying reached out to Airbus for comment on the A220 range reports. The planemaker shared that it is always working with its customers and listening to their fleet requirements. However, it does not comment on the status of its confidential discussions.
Nonetheless, a spokesperson shared that the A220 has the capacity to improve, and the company is already improving the platform. The representative shared the following:
“As part of the continuous development of the A220, we announced in May 2019 that the MTOW of the A220 was increased by 5,000 lbs, and the range by up to 450 nm to satisfy our customers’ needs. This upgrade is now available on the A220-300. Our A220 engineering teams are always evaluating how to continue improving the platform, as we do on all other Airbus programmes.”
Gearing up for action
Breeze will be offering a premium cabin on its A220s. Altogether, the interior will be resembling that of a domestic first class offering. The standard seats will be configured in a 2-3 setting. Meanwhile, the premium seats at the front will be set up in a 2-2 configuration.
It’s only a few days away until Breeze hits the skies for the first time. It will be flying to Tampa from Charleston on May 27th. Interestingly, most of the operator’s routes this summer are under 1,000 mi (1,609 km) and are as low as 330 mi (531 km). By the time the A220s arrive this fall, the airline should be in a position to expand with its new fleet members.
What are your thoughts about Airbus looking to boost the A220’s range? Would this be a good move by the manufacturer? Let us know what you think of the company’s plans in the comment section.