Today, Iraqi Airways released photos of its first of five Airbus A220s that it expects to take delivery of starting next month. On its Facebook page, the airline shared photos of its first-ever Airbus A220-300 painted in the green and white livery of the airline.
From what we understand from the Iraqi Airways comments added to the post, the photos were taken at the Airbus Mirabel factory near Montreal in Quebec, Canada. Iraqi Airways said that it had sent a group of its pilots to Lufthansa in Germany to obtain a license that will enable them to fly the Airbus A220-300.
Pilot training is underway in Germany
The flight training is done by a company called the Flight Training Alliance, a joint venture between CAE and Lufthansa Aviation Training. Located at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Flight Training Alliance is the sole Authorized Training Provider (ATP) for Airbus A220 training worldwide. All the courses that Flight Training Alliance provides have been developed in close cooperation with Airbus.
With the aircraft expected to be handed over to Iraqi Airways in early October, the airline has been talking with Airbus and Transport Canada to discuss what they need to do to incorporate the new aircraft into their fleet. According to ch-aviation, Iraqi Airways has a fleet of 30 aircraft comprising the following planes:
- 3 x Airbus A320-200s
- 2 x Airbus A321-200s
- 1 x Airbus A330-200
- 15 x Boeing 737-800s
- 2 x Boeing 747-400s
- 1 x Boeing 777-200LR
- 6 x CRJ900ERs
Iraqi Airways first placed an order with Bombardier for five A220s in 2013 when the aircraft was still called the CS300. Besides the five currently on order, Iraq Airways has options to purchase an additional 11 Airbus A220s from the European planemaker.
About the Airbus A220
Designed by Bombardier Aerospace as the Bombardier CSeries, the Airbus A220 is a narrowbody airliner suitable for short and medium-haul destinations. The CS100, now known as the A220-100, can seat between 108 and 133 passengers, while the larger CS300 (A220-300) can seat between 130 and 160 passengers. Swiss Global Air Lines was the launch customer for the A220-100 in 2016, and airBaltic was the launch customer for the A220-300 later the same year.
In July 2018, Airbus acquired 50.1% of the CS program and rebranded the aircraft the A220-100 and A220-300. Besides the main factory in Mirabel, Quebec, Airbus opened a second production line in Mobile in Alabama. In 2020 Bombardier left the A220 program leaving Airbus with a 75% stake and the remaining 25% being held by the Quebec government.
Constructed with an aluminum-lithium fuselage and carbon composite wings, the A220 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofan engines. Delta Air Lines is the largest operator of the A220 with 50 planes in its fleet, while Latvia’s airBaltic operates an all-Airbus fleet of 30 aircraft.
About Iraq Airways
Based at Baghdad International Airport (BGW), Iraqi Airways is the Middle East’s second oldest airline after Egyptair. In the early years, Iraqi Airways cooperated with the British Overseas Aircraft Corporation (BOAC), flying British-made Vickers aircraft. During the Iraq War, flights ceased after the coalition forces imposed a no-fly zone over the country. Following the war, the airline struggled due to debt and today operates mainly domestically and to neighboring countries.
The Airbus A220 will certainly prove to be a gamechanger for Iraq Airways and is sure to be loved by its passengers.
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