With not much news surrounding the Airbus A319neo and its new CFM LEAP engines, we thought we would take a look and try and uncover which airlines had placed orders for what is evolving into a niche aircraft.
With airlines worldwide still slowly returning to the skies as the COVID-19 restrictions start to ease in many nations, deliveries of new aircraft are way down. Airbus and Boeing have seen carriers scramble to delay, reduce, and even cancel orders for new planes as they try to decide what to do with a fleet of mainly inactive aircraft.
The A220-300 is competing with the A319neo
Regarding the Airbus A319neo, it would be fair to say that its problems started long before the coronavirus pandemic and can be put down to Airbus’s acquisition of the Bombardier C-Series family of jets. Now renamed the Airbus A220-300 the former CS100 and a later larger CS300 is a direct competitor to the A319neo.
Roughly able to carry the same number of passengers, the A319neo has the advantage when it comes to distance, with a range of 6,950 km / 3,753 nm as opposed to the A220s 6,112 km / 3,300 nm. However, the A220 shines when it comes to price and its operating costs. Firstly the A220 is some $10 million cheaper than the A319neo at $91.5 million while the A319neo costs $101.5 million. Regarding operating expenses per hour, aviation website Aircraftcompare.com says the A220-300 costs $3,100 an hour to run instead of just over $6,000 per hour for the A319neo.
The A319neo performs well in difficult conditions
The A319neo comes into its own because it can operate at airports with shorter runways, fly further, and handle demanding hot and high airports better. We observed the older A318s exceptional performance when Titan Airways flew a medical relief flight from London to St. Helena earlier this year.
The private version of the A319 called the ACJ319 has been equipped with additional fuel tanks that increase its range to 12,500 kilometers (7,767 miles), something governments and corporate clients will find attractive. This has Airbus convinced that the A319neo is still viable as a government, business, or private jet and is why they plan to keep the plane for now, at least in production.
The A319 is the least popular A320 family aircraft
The A319neo is the least popular variant of the Airbus A320neo family. According to Airbus’ order and delivery report, as of the end of June, American low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines has ordered 47 A319neos.
Avianca Argentina had 20 A319neos on order. However, Airbus deleted them from its books after the airline ceased all operations on June 7, 2019.
There have been reports that Air China placed an order for eight, but these don’t currently appear on Airbus’ official order summary. Air Cote d’Ivoire has two on order and there are three to be delivered to unnamed customers as CJ319 versions.
We can see the appeal of the A319neo as a private or government jet or if you operate from high altitudes or remote places like St. Helena with a small runway. Otherwise, the A220-300 seems far more practical and economical to operate.
What do you think about the future of the A319neo? Will Airbus continues to make the plane or will it be the next to see its production end. Please let us know what you think in the comments.