How Airlines Are Using the A220

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After the publication of the A220 usage data by Air Canada, here are those for the entire fleet. As with last week’s text, I used data provided by Cirium.


I made some changes, including the usage time which is now in minutes. I remind you that it is the time from the moment the plane leaves the gate until the arrival at the other gate at a destination that is calculated. This time can vary a lot depending on the congestion at an airport. Distance is measured in nautical miles.


January’s Data Sheet

As of January 2022, a total of 193 A220s have been delivered and of these 187 are in service. Breeze Airways and Iraqi Airways received their first aircraft did not start operations. Here is the table of use of the A220 by airlines:


It is no surprise that Delta comes first for the number of flights performed with more than 6,000. This is normal since it is the one with the most in service with 52. But it is Air Austral which wins the palm of the longest average usage time. The geographical position of this French department in the Indian Ocean partly explains this situation.


We also note that Korean Air uses the A220 on only six routes, but intensively. The average flight time is only one hour six minutes with an average of 139.5 flights per aircraft.


It is Air Tanzania which operates the shortest flight over a distance of only 39.2 nautical miles. This is the link between Dar El Saleem and the island of Zanzibar.


Top 10

Now, I have made a list of the 10 destinations where the A220 is mostly used.


It is Korean on Seoul-Busan that wins with 526 flights, which gives a daily frequency of 25 flights. Delta follows closely with 516 flights between New York Laguardia and Chicago O’Hare. Delta has four routes in the top 10 busiest and Air Canada three. Toronto and New York are the two cities the A220 visits most frequently with more than 1,600 flights per month each.


The other list is about the longest routes.


Air Austral therefore comes first with the Chennai, India, to Saint-Denis in Reunion. Air Baltic comes second with Riga-Tenerife. But with six routes in the top 10, Air Canada is the airline using the most of the A220 over longer distances.


Despite operating 32 aircraft, Air Baltic has little presence in these two rankings. This is explained by the fact that this airline is the one that experiences the biggest winter slowdown. Moreover, it often does a wet lease during the off season. In January it performed 190 flights for Eurowing and 40 for Scandinavian. Air Baltic is also the company that operates the largest number of routes.




During the C Series era, the aircraft was touted as ideal for long thin routes. The pandemic has prompted Air Canada and Delta to use it on short, very high-volume destinations: its operating costs per available seat are similar to those of the A320neo. It can therefore be used to maintain a high frequency of flights despite the passengers drop. In addition, its maximum take-off weight being lower, it saves on airport fees.


On high-frequency routes like New York-Chicago or Montreal-Toronto, Air Canada and Delta Airlines do not only affect a few aircraft that constantly go back and forth. Generally speaking, the typical usage of a device would be more like this: Toronto-Montreal, then Montreal-Los Angeles. Or Ottawa-Toronto, followed by Toronto-Montreal and finally Montreal-Calgary. In the case of Air Canada and Delta Airlines, the A220 offers them the possibility of being used throughout the North American network. Air Baltic and SWISS also benefit from this versatility.


Korean Air, has chosen to use it based on a specific mission and sticks to it. It is his workhorse for high density roads. For Air France and JetBlue, it will be necessary to wait until they have received a greater number of devices before getting an idea. But there is one thing that is clear, the A220 is not a niche aircraft. It can meet several needs and can be use on so many market. No wonder operators are asking for the A220-500.

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