Airbus started construction of its new assembly plant at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley in Mobile, Alabama on Wednesday. The facility will be the home of the Airbus A220-300.
To date, Airbus has received over 500 orders for aircraft of its A220 family, most of them for the A220-300. Delta Airlines is currently the biggest A220 customer with 90 orders followed by JetBlue and Moxy with 60 orders each. As Simple Flying reported, Moxy is David Neeleman’s newest project. The airline will offer point-to-point service between secondary airports and is expected to launch operations in 2021. It will have an all-A220 fleet. Additionally, AirBaltic is planning on replacing all its existing aircraft with Airbus A220s.
As we can see, the Airbus A220 has been popular among several carriers. What are the reasons for its popularity? And, why can we consider it a game-changing plane?
The aircraft was built with passenger comfort in mind. It offers wide seats, big windows, and a quiet flight. It provides a new flying experience compared to the cramped feeling passengers typically get on narrow-body aircraft. Airbus probably summed it up the best, “it’s a single-aisle aircraft that feels like a widebody jet.”
Moreover, the aircraft is very fuel efficient. Fuel efficiency is important to airlines due to the associated cost savings. Airbus reduced the weight of the aircraft by using advanced composites and advanced aluminum for its construction. The reduction in weight led to a reduction in fuel burn, and, hence, better fuel efficiency. Additionally, its Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engines and optimized aerodynamics further contribute to its fuel efficiency.
The aircraft has a range of up to 3,700 miles. In addition, it has obtained the 180-minute ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) approval from Transport Canada recently. This certification allows the A220 to operate on routes over water for an extended period of time. As a result, it can now fly from the West Coast of the United States to Hawaii and from New York to London. Its engines have also obtained the 180-minute ETOPS approval from the FAA; however, the FAA’s ETOPS approval for the airframe is still pending.
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The A220-100 is the smallest aircraft Airbus is currently manufacturing. It was specifically designed to serve the 100-135 seat market, while the A220-300 was built to serve the 130-160 seat market. According to Airbus, the A220-300 is “allowing airlines to connect distant points on continents or sectors that were previously unprofitable or impossible.”
Overall we can say that the aircraft is a game changer because it revolutionized the narrow-body aircraft. The A220 combines passenger comfort with low operating costs and a long range. It is the ideal choice for airlines that want to serve smaller markets and introduce new routes they could not offer before.
What is your opinion? Why is the A220 a game changer?