An Airbus A220 bound for Air France hit the skies for the first time yesterday. The narrowbody sported the flag carrier of France’s distinct livery as it took off from Airbus’ facilities in Quebec, Canada.
The time has come
The Airbus A220 program is based in Mirabel, Quebec. Here, the manufacturer conducts engineering, management, customer support, and services. The location is also the type’s main final assembly line.
It is at this site near Montreal where Air France’s incoming A220 flew for the first time. The aircraft left the paint shop with a fresh coating at the end of last month, and the airline will take on the jet at Paris-Charles de Gaulle in September.
Ahead of the delivery, the plane conducted a test flight, dubbed as a production flight, on Thursday, 26th August.
Air France notes that this flight is the last segment of the assembly phase. Now, staff will check the plane’s compliance with the specifications defined by the airline. This is ahead of training flights in real conditions.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
A sizable order
Air France is expecting 60 A220-300s to join the company. They will take over the operations handled by the firm’s current A318s and A319s. All in all, they’ll be seen on short and medium-haul routes across the carrier’s network.
Operators across the globe are becoming fans of the A220 thanks to its balance of economics and passenger comfort. Altogether Air France is looking to reap the benefits of the plane’s efficiency.
“As it is made with lighter composite materials, the Airbus A220 uses 20% less fuel than previous generation aircraft, and has a 34% reduced noise footprint. It will play a decisive role in achieving Air France’s sustainable development objectives, including a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions in absolute terms on the domestic network from Paris-Orly and on inter-regional routes by 2024 (1), and a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 2030(2),” Air France shared in a statement.
“The Air France Airbus A220 will be able to welcome 148 passengers in a 3-2 cabin configuration. Each seat will be equipped with type A and type C USB ports and all passengers will enjoy Wi-Fi access from their personal devices.”
Despite Air France’s excitement, it was actually beaten by Air Austral to become the first French operator of the type. Nonetheless, with the airline operating on over 100 A318 and A319 routes, there are a lot of prospects for the plane.
The A220’s balance has seen carriers choosing to hold solely the type in their fleets. For example, airBaltic and Air Manas only have this plane in their holdings. So, it’s no surprise that Air France is keen to somewhat streamline its short-haul fleet with modern solutions in the next generation.
What are your thoughts about Air France’s new Airbus A220 aircraft? Are you looking forward to flying the plane? Let us know what you think of the jet and its prospects with the airline in the comment section.