Airbus unveiled a new family of single-aisle aircraft yesterday that it has dubbed the A220, designed to complement its existing A320neo aircraft model.
While this is a new aircraft family for Airbus, the aircraft that comprise the A220 family – currently the A220-100 and A220-300 – are not entirely new. Rather, they are a rebrand of the Bombardier C Series aircraft, the CS100 and CS300, which first entered service in 2016.
Airbus recently took a majority stake in its C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership, which it jointly owns with Bombardier and Investissement Quebec, resulting in the new Airbus aircraft family.
Now wearing Airbus colours, the aircraft are “optimised for the 100 to 150 seat market”, according to the French manufacturer and are designed to offer a five-abreast cabin.
Speaking at the unveiling, Airbus chief commercial officer Eric Shultz said: “We trust that this segment could total as many as 7,200 aircraft over the next 20 years – that’s an exciting prospect.”
The introduction of a new single-aisle family follows Airbus’s latest forecast for future global aircraft needs, estimating that the world’s passenger fleet will more than double to 48,000 aircraft in 20 years.
More than three quarters of the total requirement – 28,550 aircraft – will come from the Small segment, a space typically taken up by single-aisle aircraft.
US budget carrier JetBlue has already placed a firm order for 60 of the larger A220-300 aircraft, making it the first customer of the new Airbus family.
The carrier also converted its pre-existing order for 25 A320neo aircraft to the larger A321neo.
In related news, Airbus began the final stage of aircraft certification for its A330-900neo aircraft late last month ahead of its delivery to launch customer TAP Air Portugal this year.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer recently provided Cathay Pacific with its newest wide-body aircraft, the A350-1000, making Hong Kong’s flag carrier only the second airline to operate the new aircraft after Qatar Airways.
Swiss is also an operator of both models.