The first US-made Airbus A220 has completed its maiden flight. Early in the morning in Alabama on June 2nd, the A220-300 lifted off from Mobile, where Airbus has a production facility. After about three hours in the air, the aircraft returned to the ground.
The first US-made A220 takes its maiden flight
Airbus celebrated the takeoff of the first Airbus A220 produced in the United States.
The 1st Airbus #A220 aircraft produced at the U.S. Manufacturing Facility has flown for the 1st time. The A220-300, destined for @Delta Air Lines, took off from the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley in Mobile, AL, this morning, performed its test sequences & landed safely at 1:44 pm. pic.twitter.com/4P8mr74im8
— Airbus in the U.S (@AirbusInTheUS) June 2, 2020
The aircraft is painted in Delta Air Lines livery and will be the first A220-300 for the Atlanta-based airline. The A220 took off from Mobile Downtown Airport (BFM) and headed west over the Gulf of Mexico. The aircraft did not stray far from the US coast during the three-hour flight. Also, according to data from Flightradar24, the plane sustained a maximum altitude of 16,000 feet.
Building Airbus A220s in the United States
The US production line complements the existing A220 production line in Mirabel, Canada. This is near Montreal and, before the start of the US line, is where all Airbus A220s (and formerly known as Bombardier CSeries) aircraft were produced. Delta’s first Airbus A220 came from Montreal-Mirabel. Mirabel remains the primary production facility for the A220.
The second US-made Airbus A220 is destined for JetBlue. That aircraft will arrive in December of this year. Earlier this month, Airbus announced that it had received the first component assemblies for JetBlue’s A220.
Airbus in Alabama
Back in 2017, Airbus had announced plans to manufacture the A220 in Mobile, Alabama. There, Airbus has a production facility where the manufacturer also produces Airbus A320 aircraft. Delta is a big Airbus A321 customer. The airline has received some of its newest A321s from the Alabama facility.
The A220 plant itself in Mobile is quite new. Airbus only inaugurated the production facility on May 19th, 2020. The A220 that lifted off today was built off of borrowed space from the existing A320 production line. In the long-term, that is not terribly feasible, which is why Airbus built up the new line. It will also allow the manufacturer to increase the overall output of A220-family jets. This makes JetBlue’s future A220 the first to be built entirely on the new A220 production line.
Back in 2019, Delta rejigged its A220 order book. The airline converted some A220-100 orders to the larger -300 variant and added another 15 more of the latter. Delta’s A220-300s will have a total of 130 seats onboard.
The news about Delta’s first A220-300 flight comes just hours after Delta flew its final MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft. The A220-300 is part of Delta’s fleet renewal plan and has become a favorite for the airline and its customers. During the downturn, the A220 has kept on flying.
The MD-88s sat 149 passengers while the MD-90s had a maximum capacity of 158. While the A220 will be replacing the MD aircraft on some routes, it will represent a small capacity decrease. However, that is not necessarily bad, given the overall trajectory of current air travel demand.
Are you looking forward to flying Delta’s A220-300? Are you a fan of the A220? Let us know in the comments!