SWISS & airBaltic Set To Replace C-Series Designation

SWISS and airBaltic are set to change the codes they use to refer to the Airbus A220. Following Airbus’ takeover of the program, the aircraft have thus far retained their C-Series designations. However, both SWISS and airBaltic, two of the largest A220 operators, are set to change this.

airBaltic, Airbus A220, IATA Code Change
airBaltic was the launch operator of the Airbus A220-300. Photo: airBaltic

The Airbus A220 was originally designed, built, and marketed by Bombardier. However, following a deal with Airbus, the aircraft was rebranded as the A220. The CS100 became the A220-100, and the CS300 became the A220-300. Despite the name change, the aircraft continues to be manufactured in Montreal, Canada.

So, what’s changing?

The IATA assigns codes for the various different aircraft in the skies. For example, the Airbus A321 is “321”, while the Boeing 747-400 is “744”. Even aircraft such as the Airbus Beluga and the Boeing 747 Dreamlifter are recognized. These are “ABB” and “74B” respectively. The codes are each a combination of three letters and/or numbers.

Currently, the Airbus A220 still utilize the codes that its two models were assigned back when the aircraft still wore the Bombardier brand. However, in an effort to streamline things and get with the times, IATA has decided its time to change. From the 27th of October 2019, both aircraft’s codes will change. The A220-100 is currently coded CS1, and is due to change to 221. Meanwhile, the A220-300 is currently coded CS3, and is due to change to 223.

airBaltic, Airbus A220, IATA Code Change, SWISS
Earlier this week SWISS temporarily grounded its Airbus A220 fleet. Photo: SWISS

Why SWISS and airBaltic?

While the change in the IATA code will affect every Airbus A220 aircraft, SWISS and airBaltic have confirmed the change to Simple Flying. A SWISS representative told Simple Flying: “SWISS will switch the naming from C Series to A220 with the time table change end of October 2019”

Meanwhile, airBaltic told us:

airBaltic confirms that it will change its Airbus A220-300 aircraft codes from CS3 to 223 according to IATA regulation. The new codes will be introduced as of the beginning of the Winter season 2019, which starts on October 27, 2019. The new codes 223 will replace the formally known Bombardier C Series codes CS3.

Airbus A220 operators

SWISS is the world’s largest Airbus A220 operator. The flag carrier of Switzerland was forced to ground its fleet of the aircraft earlier this week. The airline operates 9 A220-100s and 20 A220-300s, with one more -300 left to receive.

airBaltic, Airbus A220, IATA Code Change, SWISS
The Airbus A220 used to be the Bombardier C-Series. Photo: Airbus

Delta operates the second-biggest fleet at 25 aircraft which are currently all A220-100s. Next is airBaltic. The launch customer for the -300 currently has 20 aircraft, with a further 30 on order.

Korean Air has ten Airbus A220-300s. Meanwhile, EgyptAir and Air Tanzania both have two of the Airbus A220-300. Simple Flying contacted ICAO to see whether they also plan to change the aircraft’s code. On the 22nd of October, they told us that they currently have no plans to change their codes for the aircraft type.

Have you flown onboard the A220? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!