The very first Airbus A220 to be built in the United States has finally be delivered to Delta Air Lines this week. N301DU was under construction in 2019, when a rogue fire suppression system damaged the aircraft with fire retardant foam. After approximately six months delay, this A220-300 was finally flown to Minneapolis yesterday, making it Delta’s 48th of the type, and Airbus’ 150th to be built.
Alabama’s first A220 is finally delivered
Delta has taken delivery of a rather special Airbus A220 this week. N301DU is not only the 48th A220 for Delta Air Lines, but also the very first one to be built in Mobile, Alabama.
But many A220s have been delivered from Alabama, to Delta and to JetBlue, since the production line opened. In fact, this the eight aircraft to roll off the line there, so how can this be?
Well, you might remember, back in September 2019, Airbus suffered something of a disaster at its new hangar in Mobile. A fire suppression system was inadvertently activated, and despite there being no indication of fire, fire retardant foam was sprayed all over the facility.
Inside the hangar at the time were two aircraft, one of which was this A220 destined for Delta. At the time, a statement from Airbus read,
“The hangar has been closed while evaluation teams at the site are trying to determine the cause of the system activation. Two aircraft that were in the hangar at the time the system activated are being evaluated. We are in direct contact with customers to keep them informed.”
The A220 was in its early stages of production, but had been expected to be delivered to Delta in the third quarter last year. It seems that the damage from the foam was significant enough to affect the delivery schedule, with yesterday’s handover taking place almost six months late.
The 150th A220 for Airbus
In the end, N302DU was the first A220 built in the US to be delivered, which also went to Delta. It was handed over in October last year, around the same time the airline had expected to receive N301DU.
Data from FlightRadar24.com shows N301DU, operating under its test registration of C-GPWC, had taken its first flight on February 23rd. Since then, it has been flown a further four times, with the most recent trip on March 12th.
Yesterday, at around 14:00 local, the A220 took off for its new home with Delta Air Lines. It flew north from Mobile for two and a half hours, before landing safely in Minneapolis Saint Paul.
Not only is this the 48th A220 for Delta, it’s also a significant delivery for Airbus too. N301DU is the 150th A220 to be built by the planemaker, an impressive milestone for the small jet. Delta remains the largest customer of the type, with orders in for a further 47 aircraft.