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The A220; Strength to Strength

by David Hopwood

The smallest of the Airbus commercial products has been doing well recently. We reviewed the A220 alongside its main competitor, the Embraer E195-E2 in a previous article.

The A220-300 –formerly the Bombardier C-series—is a Pratt and Whitney powered aircraft (the PW1500G engine to be exact) capable of carrying up to 160 passengers over almost 6000 kilometres. Its list price is just short of $90 million.

Here’s a review of the main events since late last year.

  • Airbus produced its 100th A220 on 29th November last year, the example being a -300 series for the Latvian-based AirBaltic and was assembled in the final assembly plant at Mirabel, Montreal in Canada.
  • The Air France-KLM group firmed up an order for 60 of the type on 18th December and will be used by the French carrier, adding to its Airbus fleet of 159. This was the largest single order from a European operator, adding to the A220 order book of 530 at the end of November that year.
  • Two days later, on 20th December 2019, Air Canada took delivery of the first of its 45 A220-300s on order. It entered service in January and is the first airline to operate the type in North America. The aircraft is configured in a two-class layout; 125 in economy and 12 in business and can fly some lengthy routes including Toronto to San Jose and Montreal to Seattle.
  • In January 2020, Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) the largest global lessor of regional aircraft placed an order for 20 of the type. NAC manages and owns 500 aircraft on lease to 78 customers in more than 50 countries.
  • Following its exit from commercial aviation, Bombardier transferred its remaining interest in the Airbus Canada partnership to the Government of Quebec in February. Bombardier received US$ 591 in the transaction. Airbus now owns 75% of the company with the Quebec Government the remaining 25%. This transaction secured 3300 jobs in Quebec.
  • And yesterday, (Thursday) Green Africa Airways based in Lagos, Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding for 50 A220-300s, one of the biggest orders globally for the aircraft and the biggest ever from Africa. At the end of January, the order book amounted to 658 orders.

Often overshadowed by the more glamorous long-haul twin-aisle A330, A350 and A380, the A220 is selling well for the European manufacturer. The purchasers were all attracted by the much-improved fuel consumption, lower emissions and small noise footprint of the baby Airbus.

But all is not entirely well with Airbus as a whole. While yesterday reporting record deliveries, the manufacturer reported a €1.4 billion loss for 2019, down from a net profit of €3.1 billion the previous year. Much of the loss was attributed to the massive €3.6 billion fine paid in the settlement with authorities in the US, France and the UK for bribery to secure contracts in 20 countries. Nevertheless, the company increased dividends to its shareholders by 9% to €1.8 per share, based on its overall strength.

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News Roundup; Week #7 of 2020 - Travel Radar Media February 18, 2020 - 11:02 am

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