BA City Flyer – Airbus A220 vs E2 Jet Order

IAG, the owner of both British Airways and Iberia, is planning to completely renew their British Airways City Flyer fleet. CIty Flyer are a small subsidiary of BA, which operates domestic and European routes from London City airport.

BA City Flyer
Embraer E170 takes off over London City Airport. Photo: Wikimedia

Which aircraft they will choose, however, is still up for debate. Experts are claiming that both the A220 and the Embraer (or Boeing Brazil) E2 are possibilities, as reported by Aerotelegraph.

What is the BA City Flyer?

You will be forgiven if you have never heard of the British Airways City Flyer.


Operating their fleet of 23 aircraft out of the London City Airport, they focus on providing bespoke routes for business travelers, as well as holidaymakers who don’t want to fly through Heathrow or the other big London airports. They have been incredibly profitable and in 2018 they transported over 2.37 million passengers.


But their fleet of aging Embraer E170s and E190s are starting to no longer be as economical as they once were. As such, British Airways is looking for a new aircraft to fill their shoes. This aircraft will need to be quiet (as the flight path is low over residences) and able to take off/land at the very narrow and short London City Airport.

As we have reported before, there are two companies currently battling it out in the short-haul, 100 passenger marketplace. The Airbus/Bombardier A220 and the Boeing/Embraer E2 series both fit the case for British Airways… but which will they choose? This is our guess.


The case for the A220

The A220-100 is almost the perfect aircraft for this fleet renewal. It’s already proving to be popular, with over 500 orders worldwide (from reputable companies like Delta). It has been praised for its excellent passenger comforts (such as the window in the bathroom), and a recent engine improvement has increased the range to reach well over the Atlantic.

50 years of Airbus - a reflection
Delta is one of many carriers to buy the popular A220. Photo : Delta News Hub via Flickr

What about the Embraer E2?

Notice that we said ‘almost perfect’ above. There is one issue that might make the E2 series far more desirable for British Airways over the A220 series. That is the matter of crew training.

You see, BA City Flyer already has a fleet of Embraer aircraft. Their cabin crew and pilots are used to flying in these aircraft, and the next generation of the Embraer aircraft would easily slot into their schedules without extensive training periods.

An Embraer E190-E2 in flight.
An Embraer E190-E2 in flight. Image Source: Embraer.

Which will they choose?

According to Aerotelegraph, IAG CEO Willie Walsh has said in an interview that “a decision on the matter will be made in the coming months” but would not indicate a preference for either one, stating that, “I consider both jets to be very good products”.

It is believed that IAG is looking to order 26 aircraft. You can see how the A220 and the E2 compete directly here.

We will have to see which they choose. Let us know in the comments which you think is best!


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As much as Embraer E2 jets may seem like a perfect replacement for BA City flyer, one other factor should not be neglected. BA also operates an all business transatlantic service out of LCY. This would leave the A220 as the sole aircraft capable of satisfying both requirements. Furthermore the recent MTOW increase in the A220 would make it even more attractive for BA to consider switching sides.

Alex B

Looking at the bigger picture, the A220 could offer far more benefits to BA over the Embraer E2. The A220-100 can operate out of LCY with more passengers over a greater distance, and an aircraft could be configured all business class to replace their sole A318. Also, the A220-300 would be an ideal replacement for their A319 fleet based out of Gatwick and Heathrow, filling in the 100 to 150 seat segment on routes unable to economically support their larger A320neos. Therefore at the expense of retraining crews, you’ll have greater fleet flexibility. BA could even relocate an A220 between… Read more »