Why Delta Air Lines Ordered The Airbus A220

Delta has only been operating its Airbus A220 aircraft since 2019. The airline was excited about getting its hands on the narrowbody in the years before it was delivered. Here is a look at why the operator took the type on.

Delta Airbus A220
Delta has been flying with the Airbus A220 since the beginning of last year. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Refreshing the fleet

According to the Delta Flight Museum, the Atlanta-based carrier was looking to replace its smaller narrowbody jets such as the CRJ700, CRJ900, and Embraer E-175. This target was part of the carrier’s mission to modernize its fleet. It sought to replace 20% of older, less-efficient aircraft by the time the 2020s rolled around.

Delta had already let go of 280 50-seat regional planes and more than 130 older, narrowbodies since 2009. Meanwhile, it overhauled its holdings with more than 300 new additions.

Subsequently, in April 2016, Delta became the US launch customer for the Bombardier C Series. The company ordered 75 CS100 jets. This aircraft would provide Delta with greater fuel-efficiency and gave it more flexibility to its network.

The CS100 would come with Pratt & Whitney’s newest geared turbofan PW1500Gs. Two of these engines would help the aircraft reach a speed of 515 mph (829 km/h). Additionally, the plane would have a range of 3,393 miles (5,460 km).

Additionally, it was built with progressive technology and composite materials. The jet provided a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency narrowbodies of a similar size. Furthermore, there were reductions in noise pollution and carbon emissions. Moreover, Delta would also not need to take on the Embraer E190, which it was looking to do.

Delta A220
The plane has specifications that make the type highly suitable for Delta Air Lines on certain routes across the United States. Photo: Delta Air Lines

In line with the mission

Altogether, the plane would be the perfect solution to the airline’s needs of the time. In 2016, Delta chief executive officer Ed Bastian summarized the goals that Delta hoped to achieve with the C Series. The businessman said that it fits in the airline’s mission of providing a high-quality service across its operations.

“As we reshape our fleet for the future, the innovative onboard experience of the C Series is a perfect complement for the top-notch service provided every day by Delta people,” Bastian said, as per the Delta Flight Museum.

“These new aircraft are a solid investment, allowing us to take advantage of superior operating economics, network flexibility and best-in-class fuel performance.” 

Delta Airbus A220 Seat
Delta was looking to provide an up to date experience for its passengers with the type. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Two years later, there was a significant shift with the C Series program. In June 2018, Bombardier and Airbus announced that the latter would take on a majority stake in the product line. Subsequently, the plane would be rebranded as the A220.

Once the first A220 arrived at Delta’s holdings, Bastian upheld his optimistic views of the aircraft. He declared that the jet would serve as the cornerstone of the airline’s future domestic growth.

Delta Airbus A220 Cabin
Inside the passenger cabin of Delta Air Lines’ Airbus A220 aircraft. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Further commitments

The first A220-100 to be delivered was registration N101DU on October 26th, 2018. Delta showed its faith in the type and extended its A220 orders by 15 planes. Therefore, its order book had a total of 90 units listed in it. The airline said that these additional planes would continue to strategically enable the company to refresh its fleet and drive further advances in the passenger experience.

Delta was planning to inaugurate service on January 31st, 2019. However, there was a 35-day government shutdown between December 22nd, 2018, and January 25th, 2019. This unexpected occurrence disrupted the certification processes required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Therefore, there was a delay in the jet’s deployment.

Delta Airlines A220 Jet
There may not be much activity when it comes to business travel in the current period, but Delta will be looking to cater to these passenger segments after the industry recovers again. Photo: Getty Images

The first service with a Delta A220 eventually began on February 7th of that year. This operation was between New York’s LaGuardia and Boston. This event was a well-publicized affair with many individuals lining up at the airport to be part of the grand occasion. Notably, the plane’s lavatory came with a view as there is a window inside, allowing passengers to catch the sights in the skies. The very next day, flights between LaGuardia and Dallas/Fort Worth were launched.

Ultimately, Delta initially concentrated on deploying this plane on domestic business routes. The aircraft can fit 109 passengers on board. 12 travelers can travel in first class, 15 can be seated in Delta Comfort+, and 82 can fly in the main cabin. Moreover, all fliers have access to WiFi, a USB outlet, power points, and personal IFE.

Delta Airbus A220 Interior
The interior of Delta’s Airbus A220 aircraft gives a modern yet comforting feel for those flying on the plane. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Ongoing operations

According to Planespotters.net, Delta currently holds a total of 31 A220-100s within its fleet. 30 of the planes are active, and one remains on the sidelines. The carrier is also presently expecting 12 more A220s to arrive at its facilities. It was also looking to have its first A220-300 by this year. However, this model hasn’t arrived with the operator yet.

Altogether, the Airbus A220 offers a fantastic experience for Delta passengers with its comfortable and up to date offerings onboard. There is plenty of room to sit back in on the seats, no matter what cabin a traveler is in.

Delta Airbus A220 Inside
There is a lot of space for passengers flying on Delta’s Airbus A220 jets. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Delta deploys the jet from its hubs to several cities such as Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago. So, anyone looking to hop around the US on this aircraft won’t be let down with its quality offerings.

What are your thoughts about Delta Air Lines’ Airbus A220 aircraft? How has your experience been on these planes over the last year? Let us know what you think of the jet in the comment section.