A220 program update

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Airbus delivered two A220s in October, one to Air Baltic and one to Delta Airlines, bringing the total to 23 since the beginning of the year. According to plan, two more aircraft will be delivered to Air Baltic, three to Delta Airlines and two to SWISS, bringing the total to 30 for the year. With only two months to go, it can be expected that the target of 34 deliveries will be officially reviewed by Airbus, our guess is that from now on it will be “about 34”. After a sequence of about ten A220-100, the A220-300 are back on the assembly line while the serial number 55052, which is intended for Air Baltic passed the stage of the junction of the wings to the fuselage.


Several media reported that Air Baltic had made many engine changes in a year; With the priority being to keep aircraft already delivered in service, a significant portion of Pratt & Whitney’s production capacity was used to upgrade aircraft engines in service. All A220s from Air Baltic, Korean Air and SWISS would now have upgraded engines and Pratt & Whitney will be able to focus on delivering to the assembly line. If no new problems are discovered on PWG engines, the production rate should increase a lot in 2019.


During a conversation we had with Airbus’ new president, Mr. Guillaume Faury, on October 26, he told us that Zodiac had drawn up a new recovery plan and was confident that the quality of the cabin parts will improve in the coming months. We hope this turnaround plan will be the last.


During the delivery ceremony of the first A220-100 to Delta Airlines, Wing Over Québec had the opportunity to meet with the president of the airline Mr. Ed Bastian. He mentioned that the profitability of the A220 would allow to operate it in Delta’s main fleet and that it would not be necessary to entrust it to regional operators. There is no need for Delta Airlines to review with the pilot union the regional aircraft scope clause in order to include the A220. The profitability of the A220-100 allows Delta to increase the number of seats available on busy roads where the CRJ-900 is struggling to keep up with demand. It is still expected that Delta Airlines will use the A220 to open new routes and it will probably be by the end of 2019.


On November 6th at the Zuhai Air Show in China, the A220 will begin a tour of about a month in Asia. The E2, his competitor, will also make a tour in this region of the world in November. Airbus and Embraer are therefore eager not to leave this rapidly growing market behind and consider it worthwhile to promote their 100 to 150 passenger aircraft now.


Spirit Airlines and United Airlines are both looking for aircraft with a capacity of 100 to 150 passengers. If Spirit Airlines has almost completed its assessment, United seems to want to drag his until Boeing finally takes control of the E2 to get another gargantuan discount from the US manufacturer.


Finally, if the official speech at Airbus is still to obtain 50% market share for the A220, privately some start to advance the figure of 60%. Since February 2016, the A220 has won all major orders against the E2, this is perhaps what justifies the optimism of those who now aim for 60%.

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