The Government Shutdown takes yet another toll on the aviation industry as it forced Delta Airlines to postpone their planned launch of their A220 aircraft, which was set to debut on January 31st, 2019.
The Atlanta based airline was forced to delay the launch due to delays in receiving certifications required by the Federal Aviation Administration (US).
“No customer impact is expected as a result of this equipment change and no flights will be canceled because of A220 certification. The flights will be operated by other aircraft and changes are expected to be fully visible in schedules on Saturday.” according to a spokesperson from Delta
The delay has angered many aviation enthusiasts from around the world, who booked the flight on January 31st to specifically be on the inaugural Delta A220 flight.
Delta has rescheduled the inaugural flight for a tentative date of February 7th.
President Donald Trump reached a deal on Friday to fund the Government for at least three weeks, which will allow the Federal Aviation Administration to process some of the certification paperwork, such as for the A220.
The A220 is one of the newest regional aircraft on the market today. The aircraft includes revolutionary fuel saving mechanics, larger overhead bins, and perhaps the most interesting feature, the 18.6 inch seats. The seats are actually wider than any other coach-class seat in the Delta fleet, and is 1/10th of an inch wider than the coach-class seats on Delta’s recently overhauled Boeing 777 series.
Delta first ordered the A220 from Canadian Manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace Inc. At this time, the A220 was called the Bombardier C-Series. In April of 2016, Bombardier was caught in a trade dispute with Boeing after Boeing accused Bombardier of selling the aircraft below the cost of manufacturing the airplane, an illegal act known as “Dumping”. In January of 2017, Boeing filed a complaint with the US Department of Commerce.
Ruling in favor of Boeing, the US Department of Commerce imposed a hefty 300% tariff on any C-Series aircraft being bought by US-based airline. To get around the tariff, Bombardier announced that European aircraft manufacturer Airbus would acquire 50.01% of the program, which would allow the aircraft to be manufactured at the Airbus facility in Mobile, Alabama. Since the aircraft would be manufactured in the United States, it would not be subject to the 300% import tariffs.
However in January 2017, the US International Trade Commission overruled the decision to impose the tariffs, which means that the aircraft can be manufactured at any other Airbus facility, and be imported into the US without any tariff.