Unions, industry and labour relations

Delta boosts A220 order to 95 aircraft

An artist’s rendition of a Delta A220 (photo: Airbus).

Delta Air Lines, the first North American operator of Airbus Canada’s A220, has given the aircraft a vote of confidence, with an order for an additional five planes at the Paris Air Show.

The order is for a mix of A220-100 – which will be built in Mirabel, Quebec near Montreal – and A220-300, which will be assembled at a new facility in Alabama, adjacent to Airbus’s existing A320 production facility in Mobile.

Delta first ordered the Bombardier C-Series, as the plane was then designated, in 2016, sparking a trade complaint from Boeing which was later dismissed. Airbus acquired a majority stake in the programme in October 2017.

Delta has a total of 95 A220 on order, a mix of 45 smaller -100 versions, and 50 of the larger -300s. Delta is the first airline to select a new higher-weight version of the aircraft, allowing the A220 to fly up to 3,400 nautical miles (almost 6,300 km).

In Canada, Air Canada has ordered 45 A220s, with the first due later this year.

An artist’s rendition of Air Canada’s A220 due later this year (photo: Air Canada).

In a separate transaction, Airbus announced a deal with an airline startup named Moxy for nine A220s. Moxy is the brainchild of JetBlue founder David Neeleman, with a launch date in 2021. The new airline plans to bypass hubs for its low-cost services.

“The A220-300 is the right airplane for a new airline that will be focused on passenger service and satisfaction,” said Neeleman, adding “With a low cost of operation and spacious cabin, the A220 will allow us to provide passengers with lower fares and a high quality, comfortable flying experience. The A220’s ability to operate profitably in thin, underserved markets across a broad spectrum of ranges is unique.”

Delta flew its first A220 flight in February, and was well-received by passengers. The aircraft is one of the few types purpose-built to accommodate between 100 and 150 passengers.

Airbus sees a market of over 7,000 aircraft in this smaller category over the next 20 years.