Fans of the Bombardier built Airbus A220 rejoice because your little pet project is about to get a lot bigger.
Airbus has been so impressed by the orders and the feedback from clients that they are considering building a larger version of the A220.
Wait, is there not already a bigger A220?
Yes, you are correct. Originally, Bombardier designed two versions of the plane. The CS100, seating 125 [passengers, and the CS300 that could seat 145 passengers. However, there have always been plans for a possible further stretch of the craft to seat 165 passengers. This has been dubbed the CS500.
Since being bought by Airbus, the CS program has been redubbed into the A220-100 and the A220-300 respectively.
What does Airbus think of this further stretch?
Airbus has been rather enthusiastic about a possible further stretch of the aircraft. With current orders making the plane already successful around the world, Airbus can’t wait to see what more they can do with the Bombardier team.
They are relatively cautious, however, waiting to see how the aircraft performs on the market (and if they can successfully ramp up production).
“It’s very likely that… once the A220 has done the ramp up, is economically viable [and] then we can further invest, that this is going to happen, Once this success is on track, it would be time for looking at what we do for the product.” – Airbus president of commercial aircraft Guillaume Faury
Who is the A220-500 built for?
Airbus is playing a little bit of a dangerous game. The A220/CS series was always designed for small regional airports and specific spoke to spoke routes (like the upcoming startup airline Moxy), and never really to compete with Airbus’s and Boeing’s main offerings, the A319/A320 and 737 series respectively.
However, a further stretch to the A220-500 is now putting it into the realm of a competitor to Boeing’s most popular jet, the Boeing 737.
Whilst the Airbus A320 is still a bit bigger than the -500 at 185+ seats, it is no mistake that they might accidentally cannibalize their own sales as well (after all a smaller plane is easier to fill).
And this might really make Boeing go on their toes. Some say it might actually be a worthy competitor to the 737 (You can read our comparison vs article here).
With Airbus finishing the construction and delivery of the new A220 in their Alabama plants, it seems that Boeing is running out of options to stop this new competitor from stealing market share under their noses.
What do you think? Is the A220 a competitor to the 737 or has Boeing got nothing to worry about?