Finally some good aviation news…
2020 will not go down as a good year, for aviation or for just about anything else, it seems. Airlines and airline crews, as well as everyone else in aviation, have gone into self-preservation mode, with rows and rows of jetliners still mothballed. As time passes, the older airframes are switched from simply being set aside for the short term, to retirement.
But there IS an upside here. The airlines know that if they are to minimize their losses (and even hope for some profits) they need new, efficient and (why not) attractive jets. Large capacities can wait for now, but a small, efficient twin that can cover short and medium distances, should do nicely in this climate.
Enter the A220.
Originally known as the Bombardier C-Series, the A220 has already seen more than its fair share of controversy, through no fault of the design itself. A bit of political or commercial jabbing isn’t unheard of in the aviation world when a new player emerges in the scene; this plane enjoyed plenty of both. Covering the details would probably take several articles, but it’s safe to say that building a factory for the aircraft in the United States, helped things immensely.
The first of these US-made aircraft was delivered to Delta on the 22nd of October, having flown for the first time last June. Covid-19 or not, this is a significant milestone for a factory that only began operating just over 20 months before.
Jeffrey Knittel, Chairman & CEO Airbus Americas, Inc. said: “The delivery of the first US-built A220-300 is a historic moment that highlights Airbus’ growing industrial footprint in North America and makes us all extremely proud. We look forward to seeing passengers delighted by the experience of travelling onboard this brand new A220-300 proudly built in Mobile, Alabama.”
Delta is currently slated to become the aircraft’s bigger operator worldwide, with a total of 95 aircraft, split between the A220-100 and the -300.
Judging the success of the A220 will have to wait. The pandemic has skewed statistics quite a bit (to put it mildly) but the sights of stranded big jets and the continuing news of retired older types mean that the A220 is in a favourable position in the current market. Its new operators will certainly count on it.
By Spyros Georgilidakis
Photo credit: Airbus