Why British Airways Should Order The Airbus A220

The A220 has proved to be a huge hit for Airbus. In fact, it has been selling really well. In fact, just this year we’ve already seen over 130 new A220s ordered by Moxy, Delta, and JetBlue. In fact, according to Airbus figures, up until December 31st, the A220 had already sold 537 units. This is around 10 times the number that have been manufactured. The aircraft was originally known as the Bombardier C Series, however, after Airbus purchased 50.01% of the program, it was renamed to be the Airbus A220. With plenty of capabilities, the aircraft could be perfect for British Airways.

British Airways A220
The A220 could be a logical choice for BA to operate out of London City Airport. Photo: Airbus

London City Aircraft

The A220 is the largest aircraft which can use London City Airport. Having such a unique location right in the centre of London, City Airport has a fairly steep approach. This is currently 5.5°, although it used to be 7° when the airport opened. For reference, the standard airport approach is 3°. Tied in with this, London City Airport has a fairly short runway. Compared with London Heathrow’s mammoth runways, City’s runway is only 1,508m. This is less than half of Heathrow’s shortest runway.

In fact, British Airways operates a business class only service from London to New York. This service, BA1, stops in Shannon to refuel due to the weight limits of City’s Runway. The flight is completed in an A318 which British Airways maintains just for the flights. With a larger floor area, British Airways could provide even more seats on the route using the aircraft. This is especially true as the aircraft was recently granted ETOPS certification.

British Airways A220
City Airport has a steeper than usual approach. Photo: British Airways

A321 Competitor?

On quieter, direct international routes, airlines are increasingly turning to long distance narrow-body aircraft. The thinking is, why utilise a half full wide-body when you could fill a narrow-body. In addition to this, while being cheaper to operate as it is taking a lot less fuel to keep the aircraft in the sky. In fact, the A220 would be even cheaper than an A321LR. As such, with its extended range, British Airways could utilise the aircraft for flights originating out of Manchester Airport.

British Airways A220
The A220s range from London. Image: GCMaps

The A220 has become so popular that some airlines are switching to it outright. Air Baltic, who Simple Flying reported on last week, is currently working to phase out their older aircraft in favour of the new A220. David Neeleman is currently in the process of launching a brand new airline. Codenamed Moxy, this airline would be operated by a fleet of 60 A220 aircraft. On the same day that they announced his order, Airbus announced that another airline he had founded, JetBlue, had also ordered 60 of the aircraft.

Do you think British Airways should purchase the A220? Let us know in the comments down below!