Airbus A220

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A220
CSeries CS100 and CS300
Logo Airbus A220.svg
YL-CSD Bombardier BD-500-1A100 CS300 BCS3 Airbus A220-300 A223 c n 55006 - BTI (31100301167).jpg
AirBaltic A220-300
Role Narrow-body jet airliner
National origin multinational
Manufacturer Airbus Canada Limited Partnership
Designer Bombardier Aviation
First flight 16 September 2013[1]
Introduction 15 July 2016 with Swiss International Air Lines[2]
Status In service
Primary users Delta Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines
airBaltic
Air Canada
Produced 2012–present
Number built 152 as of 31 March 2021[3]

The Airbus A220 is a family of narrow-body airliner designed by Bombardier Aerospace as the Bombardier CSeries. The smaller variant (CS100 then A220-100), seating 108 to 133, made its maiden flight on 16 September 2013, was awarded an initial type certification by Transport Canada on 18 December 2015, and entered service on 15 July 2016 with Swiss Global Air Lines. The longer variant (CS300 then A220-300), seating 130 to 160, first flew on 27 February 2015, received an initial type certification on 11 July 2016, and entered service with launch customer airBaltic on 14 December 2016.

In July 2018, the aircraft was rebranded as the A220 after Airbus acquired 50.01% of the program through a joint venture, which was later renamed Airbus Canada Limited Partnership. In August 2019, a second final assembly line opened at Airbus Mobile, supplementing the initial Mirabel facility. In February 2020, Airbus increased its share to 75% as Bombardier exited the program, while the provincial government's Investissement Québec held the 25% balance.

Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofans, the twinjet has fly-by-wire flight controls, a carbon composite wing and an aluminium-lithium fuselage. Early operators, Swiss and airBaltic, recorded better-than-expected fuel burn and dispatch reliability, as well as positive feedback from passengers and crew. Delta Air Lines is currently the largest operator with 49 airplanes in its fleet.[4] As of March 2021, a total of 649 aircraft had been ordered of which 152 had been delivered.[3] The A220 family complements the A319neo in the Airbus range and competes with the largest variants of the Embraer E-Jet E2 family and the smaller Boeing 737 MAX-7 variant.

Development[edit]

BRJ-X[edit]

BRJ-X concept

When Fokker, which produced the Fokker 100 100-seat short-haul aircraft, was in difficulty, discussions began with Bombardier on 5 February 1996. After evaluating Fokker's opportunities and challenges, Bombardier announced an end to the acquisition process on 27 February.[5] On 15 March, Fokker was declared bankrupt.

On 8 September 1998, Bombardier launched the BRJ-X, or "Bombardier Regional Jet eXpansion", a larger regional jet than the Canadair Regional Jet due to enter service in 2003. Instead of 2–2 seating, the BRJ-X was to have a wider fuselage with 2–3 seating for 85 to 110 passengers, and underwing engine pods.[6] It was abutting the smallest narrow-body jetliners, like the 2–3 DC-9/MD-80/Boeing 717 or the 3–3 A318 and 737-500/737-600. At the end of 2000, the project was shelved by Bombardier in favour of stretching the CRJ700 into the CRJ900.[7]

Meanwhile, Embraer launched its four-abreast, under-wing powered E-jets for 70 to 122 passengers at the Paris Air Show in June 1999, which made its maiden flight in February 2002 and was introduced in 2004. Airbus launched its 107–117 passengers A318 shrink on 21 April 1999,[6] which made its first flight in January 2002, as Boeing had the 737NG-600 first delivered in September 1998.

Feasibility study[edit]

2–3 seating on a Delta Air Lines aircraft

Bombardier appointed Gary Scott on 8 March 2004 to evaluate the creation of a New Commercial Aircraft Program.[8] Bombardier launched a feasibility study for a five-seat abreast CSeries at Farnborough Airshow in July 2004 to investigate development of an aircraft to replace rival manufacturers' aging DC-9/MD-80, Fokker 100, Boeing 737 Classic and BAe-146 with 20% lower operating costs, and 15% lower than aircraft produced at the time. The smaller version should carry 110 to 115 passengers and the larger 130 to 135 passengers over 3,200 nautical miles.[9]

Bombardier's Board of Directors authorized marketing the aircraft on 15 March 2005, seeking firm commitments from potential customers, suppliers and government partners prior to program launch. The C110 was planned to weigh 133,200 lb (60,420 kg) at MTOW and have a length of 114.7 ft (35.0 m), while the C130 should be 125.3 ft (38.2 m) long and have a 146,000 lb (66,224 kg) MTOW. It would have 3-by-2 standard seating and 4-abreast business class, 7 ft (2.1 m) stand-up headroom, fly-by-wire and side stick controls. 20 percent of the aircraft weight would be in composite materials for the centre and rear fuselages, tail cone, empennage and wings. The first flight was planned for 2008, and its entry into service was planned for 2010.[10]

In May 2005, the CSeries development was evaluated at US$2.1 billion, shared with suppliers and partner governments for one-third each. The Government of Canada would invest US$262.5 million, the Government of Quebec US$87.5 million and the Government of the United Kingdom US$340 million (£180 million), repayable on a royalty basis per aircraft.[11] The UK contribution is part of an investment partnership for the location of the development of the wings, engine nacelles and composite empennage structures at the Belfast plant,[12] where Bombardier bought Short Brothers in 1989.

On 31 January 2006, Bombardier announced that market conditions could not justify the launch of the program, and that the company would reorient CSeries project efforts, team and resources to regional jet and turboprop aircraft. A small team of employees were kept to develop the CSeries business plan and were further tasked to include other risk-sharing partners in the program.[13]

Program launch[edit]

PW1500G turbofan under the A220 wing

On 31 January 2007, Bombardier announced that work on the aircraft would continue, with entry into service planned for 2013.[14] In November 2007, Bombardier selected the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan, now the PW1500G, already selected to power the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, to be the exclusive powerplant for the CSeries, rated at 23,000 lbf (100 kN).[15]

On 22 February 2008, the Board of Directors authorized Bombardier to offer formal sales proposals of the CSeries family to airline customers, on the strength of its 20% better fuel burn and up to 15% better cash operating costs compared to similarly sized aircraft produced at the time. This interested Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and ILFC.[16]

CSeries display model, presented during the 2008 Farnborough Airshow

On 13 July 2008, in a press conference on the eve of the opening of the Farnborough Airshow, Bombardier Aerospace formally launched the CSeries, with a letter of interest from Lufthansa for 60 aircraft, including 30 options, at a US$46.7 million list price. The aircraft fuel efficiency would be 2 litres per 100 kilometres (120 mpg‑US) per passenger in a dense seating. The final assembly of the aircraft would be done at Mirabel, wings would be developed and manufactured at Belfast and the aft fuselage and cockpit would be manufactured in Saint-Laurent, Quebec.[17] The fuselage was to be built by China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC)'s affiliate Shenyang Aircraft Corporation.[18]

Bombardier estimated the market for the 100- to 149-seat market segment of the CSeries to be 6,300 units over 20 years, representing more than $250 billion revenue over the next 20 years; the company expects to capture up to half of this market.[19] By November 2009 and four years after its previous evaluation, the program grew to an estimated $3.5 billion value – nearly double the 2004 figure – shared with suppliers and governments.[20]

In March 2009, Bombardier redesignated the C110 and C130 as CS100 and CS300, respectively. The models were offered in standard- and extended-range (ER) variants; and additionally, an extra thrust (XT) variant of the CS300 was also offered.[21] Bombardier subsequently settled on a single variant, with extended range becoming the new standard.[22]

In November 2009, the first CSeries flight was expected by 2012.[23] In January 2010, the company announced that CS100 deliveries were planned to start in 2013, and CS300 deliveries would follow a year later.[24] In March 2012, Bombardier moved-up its target date for the first flight to the second half of 2012.[25] In June 2012, Bombardier reaffirmed the first flight should happen before the year's end with subsequent entry into service remaining 2013.[26]

In November 2012, Bombardier announced a delay of six months to both the first flight to June 2013 and entry into service of the CS100 one year later; the company attributed the delays to unspecified supplier issues.[27]

An extensive program update was presented on 7 March 2013; the first "flight test vehicle" (FTV) was displayed in a near-complete state, along with three other FTVs in various states of assembly: one such FTV confirmed the 160 seat "Extra Capacity" version of the CS300, featuring two sets of over-wing emergency exits.[28] The first FTV's electrical system was powered up in March 2013, while tests on the static airframe proceeded satisfactorily and on schedule.[29] In June 2013, Bombardier again delayed the first flight into July 2013 on account of software upgrades and final ground testing.[30] On 24 July 2013, after a protracted system integration process, the first flight was delayed into "the coming weeks".[31] On 30 August 2013, Bombardier received the flight test permit from Transport Canada, granting permission to perform high speed taxi testing and flight testing.[1]

Flight testing[edit]

CSeries CS100 Flight Test Vehicle (FTV1) out of the factory in June 2013

On 16 September 2013, the CS100 made its maiden flight from Mirabel Airport.[32][33] Over 14,000 data points were gathered on this flight; after reconfiguration and software upgrades, FTV1 flew for the second time on 1 October 2013.[34] On 16 January 2014, the planned entry-into-service date was delayed into the second half of 2015 due to certification testing issues; the CS300 remained set to follow approximately six months after the CS100.[35]

The first CS100 takeoff on 16 September 2013

On 29 May 2014, one of the four FTVs suffered an uncontained engine failure. Consequently, flight testing was suspended until an investigation could be completed.[36] The incident kept Bombardier from displaying the CSeries at one of the most important aerospace events in 2014, the biennial Farnborough Airshow.[37] In August 2014, Bombardier changed the program's management and slashed its workforce.[38] On 7 September 2014, flight testing was resumed after the engine problem had been isolated to a fault in the lubrication system.[39] Bombardier chairman Laurent Beaudoin stated that the CSeries was then expected to be in service in 2016.[40]

The CS300 first flight on 27 February 2015

By 20 February 2015, the FTVs had accumulated over 1,000 flight hours.[41] Seven days later, the CS300 prototype took off for its maiden flight from Bombardier's facility at Montreal Mirabel International airport in Quebec.[42] Test flight results surpassed the company's guarantees for noise, economics and performance, meaning a longer range than advertised could be possible.[43] The fifth CS100 first flew on 18 March 2015.[44] On 27 March 2015, Bombardier stated that Canadian certification for the CS100 should come in late 2015 with entry into service in 2016.[45] Delays resulted in order cancellations, including from the Swedish lessor.[46]

At the 2015 Paris Air Show, Bombardier released updated performance data, showing improvements over the initial specifications.[47] On 20 August 2015, Bombardier disclosed that the CS100 had completed over 80% of the required certification tests.[48] On 14 October 2015, the company had completed over 90% of required tests for the CS100. Accordingly, Bombardier announced that the first production CS100 would soon commence function and reliability tests.[49] The CS100 completed its certification testing program in mid-November 2015.[50] On 25 November 2015, Bombardier completed the first phase of its route proving capabilities, with a 100% dispatch reliability.[51] The final prototype, FTV8, the second CS300, made its first flight on 3 March 2016.[citation needed]

Certification[edit]

The smallest model in the series, the 110- to 125-seat CS100 received initial type certification from Transport Canada on 18 December 2015.[52] At the time, the company had 250 firm orders and letters of intent, plus commitments for another 360; but most of these were for the CS300 model, which was expected to be certified by the summer of 2016. The first CS100 was expected to be in service with Lufthansa's subsidiary Swiss by mid-2016.[53][54]

US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certification for the CS100 was granted in June 2016.[55] The first CSeries, a CS100, was delivered to Swiss Global Air Lines on 29 June 2016 at Montréal–Mirabel International Airport.[56][57]

The CS300 was awarded its type certificate by Transport Canada on 11 July 2016.[58] The CS100 and CS300 were awarded a common type rating on 23 November 2016 from EASA and Transport Canada, allowing pilots to qualify on both types interchangeably.[59] The first CS300 was delivered to AirBaltic on 28 November 2016.[60][61] It was awarded type validation by the FAA on 14 December 2016.[62]

In March 2017, Bombardier conducted steep 5.5˚ approach landings tests at London City Airport (LCY), making it the largest aircraft to land there.[63] Bombardier announced that the CS100 received Transport Canada and EASA steep approach certification in April 2017.[64] Swiss completed its first revenue flight to London City on 8 August 2017 from Zurich, replacing the Avro RJ.[65]

By December 2018, the EASA approved Category IIIa/IIIb instrument approaches for autoland with no decision height but runway visibility minimum requirements.[66] By January 2019, ETOPS 180 was granted by Transport Canada, allowing direct routes over water or remote regions.[67]

Production[edit]

At the programme launch, Bombardier had forecast 315 annual deliveries from 2008 to 2027 for 100- to 150-seat airliners, but in the first 10.5 years, the six models available (B737-700, A318/A319, CS100/CS300 and E195) averaged fewer than 80 per year.[68] Production was set to ramp from seven CSeries deliveries in 2016 to 30–35 aircraft in 2017 after Pratt & Whitney PW1000G supply and start issues are resolved.[69] Production could increase to 90–120 aircraft per year by 2020.[70] The CSeries delivery goal for 2017 was revised to 20–22, due to Pratt & Whitney delivery delays,[71] but only 17 deliveries were completed in the year.[72]

After months of engine delays, Korean Air received its first CS300 on 22 December 2017.[73] Its second was scheduled to arrive in Seoul on 1 January 2018, with the type's entry into service planned for 16 January 2018 and the remaining eight aircraft to be delivered later in 2018, among 40 total planned CSeries deliveries.[74]

Deliveries from Airbus in Mobile, Alabama started in 2020.

Delivery rates continued to climb during the late 2010s, reaching a total output of 33 CSeries in 2018 and after the Airbus partnership, rising to 48 A220 (new aircraft name) during 2019.[75] Airbus CFO Harald Wilhelm predicted a production potential of more than 100 A220 per year.[76] Production was then to be ramped up reaching ten per month in Mirabel and four per month in Alabama by the mid-2020s.[77] The market share was split between 80% A220-300 (former CS300) and 20% A220-100 (former CS100).[78]

The groundbreaking ceremony for the $300 million final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama was held on 16 January 2019;[79] on this occasion Airbus confirmed its confidence that there is enough demand to justify two assembly sites and that the airliner can be profitable.[80] On 5 August 2019, production started at Mobile facility.[81] The first A220 from the new line is to be delivered to Delta in the third quarter of 2020.[82] The facility was not due to be finished until 2020, but work started early to ensure that the first delivery schedule can be met.[83] The removal of Bombardier's financial constraints in February 2020 gave Airbus greater latitude for further investment in the programme,[84] which will be needed to ramp up production rates, though this will push back the break-even point of the programme to the mid-2020s.[85] The program cost was US$ 7 billion.[86]

On 2 June 2020, the first A220 produced in Alabama completed its first flight. By that date, production of the first aircraft for JetBlue Airways had also started.[87] The first U.S.-assembled A220 aircraft, an A220-300, was delivered to Delta on 22 October 2020.[88]

In January 2021, as Airbus reviewed its production rates following a shift in demand away from wide-bodies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the A220 was expected to reach a production rate of 5 aircraft per month by the end of the first quarter as previously foreseen.[89] [90]

Continuing development[edit]

Stretched version (A220-500)

In January 2010, JP Morgan reported that Bombardier was considering a 150-seat version of the CSeries; Bombardier described the report as speculative.[91] At the Farnborough Airshow in July 2012, Bombardier started discussions with AirAsia about a proposed 160-seat configuration for the CS300.[92] Consequently, by November 2012, this configuration was included in the CS300 project, although AirAsia rejected the proposal.[93] In May 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that Bombardier was considering marketing a CS500, a further stretch of the CS300, to compete with the 160- to 180-seat versions of the Boeing 737 and A320 airliners, but was uncommitted.[94] The existing wing would be capable of supporting a stretched version.[95] After the Airbus partnership in 2018, the stretched variant (renamed A220-500 accordingly) would allow Airbus to enlarge its A320-family replacement to better compete with the proposed Boeing New Midsize Airplane.[96] In January 2019, Airbus hinted that a larger A220 variant could be developed, owing to ramped-up production and market demand for the current production models.[97] However, in June 2019, Airbus indicated that it would not consider launching an A220-500 until it has solved its A220 production issues, and definitely not in the following year.[98] Speculation about a stretched variant continued in November 2019, with Air France mentioning an A220-500 during an investor briefing on its modernisation strategy.[99] In December 2020 Air France said it would consider the Boeing 737 MAX and the A321 as alternatives if the A220-500 is not developed in time.[100]

Performance improvement packages (PIPs)

After beating performance promises by 3%, performance improvement packages shaving operating costs were previously studied by Bombardier before the Airbus partnership; these could include putting doors on the exposed main wheels, reducing drag but adding weight and complexity.[101] Two to three more seats could be added by moving the aft lavatory, without reducing the seat pitch.[102]

MTOW & payload enhancement

On 21 May 2019, Airbus announced a 2,268 kg (5,000 lb) MTOW increase from the second half of 2020, from 60.8 to 63.1 t (134,000 to 139,000 lb) for the A220-100 and 67.6 to 69.9 t (149,000 to 154,000 lb) for the A220-300, expanding the range by 450 nmi (830 km): the A220-300 to 3,350 and 3,400 nmi (6,200 and 6,300 km) for the A220-100.[103] With the Airbus ruleset (90 kg passengers with bags, 3% enroute reserve, 200 nmi alternate and 30 minutes hold), the 108-seat A220-100 could reach 3,800 nmi (7,000 km) and the 130-seat A220-300 would achieve a range of 3,500 nmi (6,500 km) while being limited by its fuel capacity. With a denser economy seating at a 30-inch pitch down from 32, a 116-seat A220-100 would still reach 3,700 nmi (6,900 km) and a 141-seat A220-300 would exceed 3,350 nmi (6,200 km).[104]

In February 2020, Airbus announced an increase in payload capacity, achieved through a 1.8 t increase in the maximum zero-fuel weight and maximum landing weight of both the -100 and the -300, to be introduced as an option from 2022.[105] From 2021, David Neeleman's Moxy project should receive A220-300s with extra fuel tanks for 4,000 nmi (7,400 km) of range, allowing transatlantic flights or long routes like OrlandoCuritiba, Brazil, more range than the A321LR with 70% lower trip costs than A330s.[106]

In March 2021, Airbus offered a further 1 t increase to the MTOW of the A220-300, to 70.9 t (156,000 lb), available from mid-2021 and providing another 200 nmi (370 km) of additional range to 3550 nmi (6574 km). On long routes the payload will be increased by about 900 kg (2,000 lb).[107]

Business jet (ACJ TwoTwenty)

In October 2020, Airbus announced an ACJ variant of the A220-100, to be known as the ACJ TwoTwenty, with a range of 5,650 nmi (10,460 km) and cabin space of 73 m2 (790 sq ft) for 18 passengers.[108]

Design[edit]

Airbus A220-100 and A220-300 illustration with front, side and top views, wearing the original Bombardier CSeries livery

The Airbus A220 family of narrow-body aircraft was originally designed by Bombardier under the CSeries programme.[109] The high efficient engines and extensive use of composite materials,[18] like the wide-body Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 XWB, contribute together to the 12–15% better cash operating costs. Bombardier claimed at the time that the engine and the wings would save up to 20% fuel, a 25% reduction in maintenance costs and four-fold reduction in the noise footprint compared with the Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737NG with which it competed.[22] The larger CS300 (now A220-300), was 6 tonnes lighter than the Airbus A319neo and nearly 8 tons lighter than the Boeing 737 MAX 7, helping it to achieve up to 12% operating costs savings and 15% with the current models.[110]

Cabin

The cabin cross section of the aircraft family was designed to give enhanced seating comfort for passengers, with features like broader seats and armrests for the middle passenger and larger windows at every seat to give every passenger the physical and psychological advantages of ample natural light.[109] The cabin featured large, rotating overhead storage bins, allowing each passenger to stow a sizeable carry-on bag overhead.[111] Bombardier claimed that compared to the cabins of current in-service narrowbody aircraft, the aircraft family would provide airlines with the highest overhead bin volume per passenger and a wider aisle that allows for faster boarding and disembarkation of passengers.[111]

Systems
Cockpit with side-stick controller

The cockpit features the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite, which incorporates 15 in (380 mm) displays along with comprehensive navigation, communications, surveillance, engine-indicating and crew-alerting system (EICAS), and aircraft maintenance systems.[112] Other elements of the avionics and other subsystems include Parker Hannifin's flight control, fuel and hydraulics systems; Liebherr Aerospace's air management system; and United Technologies Corporation's air data system, flap and slat actuation systems.[113]

Structures

The centre fuselage of the A220-300 is 3.4 meter longer than the -100 and structurally reinforced for higher loads.[114] The fuselage and many components incorporate a high proportion of composite materials.[111] The overall aircraft consists of 70% advanced lightweight materials, comprising 46% composite materials and 24% aluminium–lithium. Bombardier has claimed that the type can achieve an overall 15% lower seat-mile cost, 20% lower fuel burn and a CO
2
emissions advantage.[22]

Engine

The new Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine should yield 12 percent better fuel economy than existing jets while being quieter, with further efficiency stemming from enhanced aerodynamics and advanced lightweight materials.[115]

Manufacturing

The composite wings were manufactured and assembled at a purpose built factory at the Bombardier Aerostructures and Engineering Services (BAES) site in Belfast, Northern Ireland.[116] Meanwhile, the aft fuselage and cockpit were built in Bombardier's Manufacturing Centre in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, with final assembly occurring at Mirabel, Quebec.[117] While several major elements of the aircraft, such as the centre wing box and doors, were manufactured internally, many other components have been contracted out, namely: Liebherr for the landing gear and pneumatics; UTC Aerospace for the electrical system and lighting; Goodrich for the nacelle; Meggitt for the wheels and brakes, Michelin for the tires; Spirit for the pylons; Honeywell for the APU; and PPG supplies the windows.[118] In 2010, Ghafari Associates was retained to develop the Montreal manufacturing site to accommodate the aircraft production.[119]

In March 2009, Bombardier confirmed major suppliers: Alenia Aeronautica for the composite horizontal and vertical stabilisers, Fokker Elmo for the wiring and interconnection systems and Goodrich Corporation Actuation Systems: design and production of the flap and slat actuation systems.[120] By June 2009, 96% of billable materials had been allocated, with the company settling on various companies for remaining components and systems: Shenyang Aircraft Corporation for the centre fuselage; Zodiac Aerospace for the interiors, and United Technologies Corporation for the engine nacelles.[113]

Operational history[edit]

As Bombardier CSeries[edit]

Swiss International Air Lines introduced CSeries with the first CS100 in July 2016.
airBaltic became the second operator of CSeries with the first CS300 in December 2016.
Korean Air became the third and last operator of CSeries in December 2017

The CS100 began revenue service on 15 July 2016 with a Swiss International Air Lines flight between Zürich and Paris.[2][121] The CS300 revenue service began on 14 December 2016 with an airBaltic flight from Riga to Amsterdam in a 145-seat two-class configuration.[62]

Swiss stated in August 2016, one month after the start of CS100 service, that "the customer feedback is very positive with the expected remarks concerning the bright cabin, reduced noise, enough leg room and space for hand luggage as well as the comfortable seats. Also, the feedback from our pilots is gratifying. They especially like the intuitive flying experience."[122] AirBaltic lauded lower noise levels for passengers and more space for luggage than its Boeing 737-300s.[123]

Bombardier targets a 99% dispatch reliability at entry into service.[124] In August 2016, Swiss reported "much higher" reliability than other new aircraft, citing Airbus's A380, A320neo and Boeing's 787.[122] After four months of service with Swiss, this goal seems to have been met based on only three aircraft and 1,500 hours flown; "nuisance messages" from the integrated avionics suite and engine start-up delays have been the main griefs.[125] Dispatch reliability rates of 99% were met in April 2017.[126] A year after introduction, launch operators had fewer issues than expected for a new program.[127] Air Baltic have 99.3–99.4% dispatch reliability, similar to the established Q400 but less than the relatively ubiquitous Boeing 737 Classic's 99.8%.[127] It improved to 99.85% in October 2017.[128]

Since the PW1500G mount generates less strain on the turbine rotor assembly than the A320neo's PW1100G, it does not suffer from start-up and bearing problems but still from premature combustor degradation.[127] After 28,000 engine hours in 14 in-service aircraft with a powerplant dispatch reliability of 99.9%, Swiss replaced an engine pair in May 2017 after 2,400 h, while AirBaltic replaced another one in June.[127] An updated combustor liner with a 6,000–8,000 hour limit has been developed and a third generation for 2018 will raise it to 20,000 hours in benign environments.[127]

Upon introduction, both variants are performing above their original specifications and the CS300 range is 2% better than the brochure, as are its per seat and per trip cost.[69] airBaltic reports a 2600 l/h fuel consumption against 3000 l/h for its Boeing 737-300 with similar capacity.[129] It claimed 21% better fuel efficiency.[123] Fuel burn is more than 1% lower than the marketing claims and Bombardier will update its performance specifications later in 2017.[127] The CSeries is 25% cheaper to fly than the Avro RJ100 which it replaces at Swiss.[130] On long missions, the CS100 is up to 1% more fuel efficient than the brochure and the CS300 up to 3%.[131] The CS300 burns 20% less fuel than the Airbus A319, 21% less than the 737 Classic while the CS100 burns 18 to 27% less per seat than the Avro RJ.[128]

Swiss initially flew six sectors a day and by July 2017 up to nine a day with an average time of 1 hours 15 minutes.[127] Air Baltic's flight length averages 3 h, and the average fleet daily utilisation is 14 h.[127] In September 2017, over 1.5 million passengers had 16,000 revenue flights in the 18 aircraft in service, making up to 100 revenue flights per day on 100 routes: most used are up to 17 hours per day and up to 10 legs per day.[131] Quick 35–minute turnarounds even allowed 11 legs per day.[128] By June 2018, Air Baltic reached a maximum utilisation of 18.5 hours a day.[132]

The A Check is scheduled after 850 flight hours: the check originally took 5 hours and has since been reduced to less than 3 hours, within an 8-hour shift.[127] C Check are scheduled after 8,500 hours – translating to about 3.5 years of operation.[127] Based on experience since product launch, A-checks intervals could increase to 1,000 hours and C-checks to 10,000 hours toward the end of 2019.[127] By September 2017 end, the fleet had undergone 20 A-checks with no findings.[131]

On 22 December 2017, Korean Air became the third airline to take delivery of a CSeries.[133] On 20 January 2018, Korean Air made their first revenue flight with the CS300, from Seoul to Ulsan.[134]

As Airbus A220[edit]

First delivery of A220-100 to Delta in October 2018

After the partnership came into effect early July 2018, the first aircraft with Airbus branding: an A220-300 (former CS300), was delivered to airBaltic on 20 July 2018.[135] In the same month, Korean Air received also its first Airbus rebranded A220-300.[136]

On 17 July 2018, at the biennial Farnborough Airshow, Pratt & Whitney announced that the PW1500G had been granted ETOPS 180 approval by the FAA.[137] On 14 January 2019, A220 powered with PW1500G gained ETOPS 180 approval from Transport Canada, pending the FAA and EASA's approval for international service.[138]

On 26 October 2018, Delta Air Lines received its first A220-100 (former CS100) of its order for 75, which was previously disputed by Boeing.[139] On 7 February 2019, Delta operated its maiden A220-100 flight with service from New York–LaGuardia Airport to Dallas–Fort Worth.[140] The A220 offers over double the range of Boeing 717 at higher efficiency.[141]

On 21 December 2018, Air Tanzania received its first A220, a -300, to be based in Dar es Salaam.[142] On 6 September 2019, Egyptair received its first A220 of its order for 12, a -300 with 140 seats: 15 premium and 125 economy seats.[143] Its final A220-300 was delivered on 5 October 2020.[144]

On 20 December 2019, Air Canada received its first A220-300 of its order for 45.[145] Air Canada began A220 flights on 16 January 2020 between Calgary and Montreal.[146] Air Canada expected A220-300s to be 15% cheaper to operate per seat than the Embraer 190s they will replace.[147]

JetBlue became the third North American operator of the Airbus A220, after Delta and Air Canada.

On 31 December 2020, JetBlue Airways took delivery of its first A220-300 from a total order of 70 aircraft to replace the Embraer 190 fleet.[148]

Variants[edit]

There are two main variants: the shorter A220-100 (formerly CS100) including the ACJ TwoTwenty business jet version, and the 3.4 meter longer A220-300 (formerly CS300). Their commonality over 99% allows a common spare part inventory, reducing investment and maintenance costs.[149]

A220-100[edit]

  • Marketing designation of the BD-500-1A10 for aircraft from serial number 50011.[150]

A220-300[edit]

  • Marketing designation of the BD-500-1A11 for aircraft from serial number 55003.[150]

ACJ TwoTwenty[edit]

  • The corporate jet version of the A220-100 has a range of 10,460 km and a cabin area of 73 m2 for 18 passengers.[151] The first delivery is expected in 2022.

Operators[edit]

As of March 2021, there were 152 airplanes in commercial service. The largest operators were Delta Air Lines (48), Swiss International Air Lines (29), airBaltic (25), Air Canada (19), EgyptAir (12), and Korean Air (10).[3]

Orders and deliveries[edit]

The Airbus A220 family has the following firm orders and delivered aircraft totals:[3]

Net orders (cumulative by year)
Data as of March 2021[3][152]
Type Ordered Delivered
A220-100 90 50
A220-300 559 102
Total 649 152

As of March 2021[3][152]

Orders and deliveries by year

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Total
Net orders 50 40 43 15 34 65 117 12 165 63 30 19 649
Deliveries 7 17 33 48 38 9 152

As of March 2021[3][152]

Marketing[edit]

The A220-100 competes with the Embraer E195-E2, while the A220-300 complements the Airbus A319neo in competing against the Boeing 737-700 and yet to be certified 737 MAX 7[153][154]

Bombardier[edit]

The effect of stiff competition and production delays was apparent in early 2016. On 20 January, United Continental Holdings ordered 40 Boeing 737-700 aircraft instead.[155] Aside from ready availability of aircraft already in full production, the purchase of the 737 vs. the CSeries was financially prudent. Since United already flew 310 of the 737, there would be savings for pilot training and fewer spare parts would need to be stocked. Boeing also reportedly gave United a massive 73% discount on the 737 deal, dropping the price to $22 million per aircraft,[156] well below the CS300 market value at $36 million.[157] In November 2016, United deferred this order to save $1.6Bn in CAPEX or $26 million per 61 aircraft.[158] David Tyerman, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity said to the Toronto Star: "This just shows how difficult it is for Bombardier to win orders these days.[...]. It also raises the question of how profitable the next C Series order they win will be for them."[159]

On 17 February 2016, Air Canada signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Bombardier for up to 75 CS300 aircraft as part of its narrowbody fleet renewal plan. This comprised 45 firm orders, plus options for an additional 30 aircraft. It includes substitution rights to CS100 aircraft in certain circumstances, with deliveries to occur from late 2019 to 2022.[160] The $3.8 billion order for 45 CS300 aircraft was finalized on 28 June 2016.[161]

On 14 April 2016, Bombardier shares were at a six-month high based on then-unconfirmed rumours that Delta Air Lines had ordered the CSeries.[162] On 28 April 2016, finally, Bombardier and Delta announced a sale for 75 CS100 firm orders and 50 options; the first aircraft should enter service in spring 2018.[163] Delta would likely start using more fuel-efficient CS100s in 2018 on flights out of Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.[123] Airways News believed that a substantial 65 to 70% discount off the $71.8 million list price was provided making the final sale at $24.6–28.7 million price per aircraft; this large order from a major carrier could help Bombardier to break the Boeing/Airbus duopoly on narrow-body aircraft.[164] Boeing then filed a dumping petition for a total duty of 292% on the CSeries, which later initiated the partnership between Bombardier and Airbus.[165]

With those 127 firm orders in early 2016, introduction should be with a firm backlog of more than 300 orders and up to 800 aircraft including options, conditional orders, LOI and purchase rights; they implied an onerous contract provision of around $500 million, $3.9 million per order.[166]

Dumping petition by Boeing[edit]

The CSeries CS100 demonstrated for Delta Air Lines in Atlanta

On 28 April 2016, Bombardier Aerospace recorded a firm order from Delta Air Lines for 75 CSeries CS100s plus 50 options. On 27 April 2017, Boeing filed a petition for dumping them at $19.6m each, below their $33.2m production cost.

On 9 June 2017, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) found that the US industry could be threatened. On 26 September, the US Department of Commerce (DoC) observed subsidies of 220% and intended to collect deposits accordingly, plus a preliminary 80% anti-dumping duty, resulting in a duty of 300%. The DoC announced its final ruling, a total duty of 292%, on 20 December. On 10 January 2018, the Canadian government filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization against the US.

On 26 January 2018, the four USITC commissioners unanimously determined that US industry is not threatened and no duty orders will be issued, overturning the imposed duties. The Commission public report was made available by February 2018. On March 22, Boeing declined to appeal the ruling.

Partnership[edit]

The stiff competition, slow business and ultimately the dumping petition by Boeing paved the way for Bombardier to close a partnership with Airbus in October 2017.[165] Bombardier CEO predicted that the partnership would significantly accelerate sales as it would bring certainty to the CSeries programme and increase the level of confidence through the Airbus's global scale, which would take the programme to new heights.[167]

At the November 2017 Dubai Air Show, a month after the announcement of the partnership, the state-owned flag carrier Egyptair announced a LOI for 12 CS300s and 12 options.[168] With the two orders planned to be finalised by the end of 2017,[169] the total number of CSeries orders was expected to rise to 403 by the end of the year, in addition to the 115 commitments, 90 options and 18 purchase rights already held.[citation needed]

Bombardier had previously received a LOI for 31 firm orders and 30 options from an unidentified European carrier, to be finalised before 2017 end.[71] These should be CS100s based on the announced list value.

By 2018, the unit cost of a 100 series was US$ 81 m, and US$ 91.5 m for a 300 series.[170] On 28 May 2018, the Latvia flag carrier airBaltic announced a firm order for 30 CS300 along with 15 options and 15 purchase rights.[171]

Airbus[edit]

The first A220 rebranded aircraft, an A220-300, was delivered to airBaltic in July 2018

After the partnership took effect on 1 July 2018, the main stakeholder Airbus assisted in marketing and servicing of the aircraft.[172] On 10 July 2018, hours after the CSeries programme was renamed A220, JetBlue ordered 60 A220-300s (former CS300) to replace its 60 Embraer 190s from 2020 with 40% lower fuel burn per seat, a blow to Embraer which was marketing the E195-E2 to the carrier.[173] Priced at $5.4 billion before customary discounts, they should be delivered from Mobile, Alabama, some could be converted to the A220-100 (former CS100) and 60 options are pending from 2025.[174] JetBlue found the two models very close economically, as the A220-300 fuel seat cost is 40% lower than its current E190 and operating cost per seat excluding fuel are 22% lower.[175]

Since July 2018, Airbus has promoted the A220 to airlines in Southeast Asia in particular, highlighting low operating costs for regional jet operators and low seat-mile costs for the low-cost carriers that dominate this price-sensitive market. Airbus believes that the A220 has a role to play in the rise of point-to-point traffic in the region, especially on new routes with thin initial demand.[176]

In January 2019, confirmation of sales to JetBlue and Moxy pushed the A220 order backlog to more than double that of the slightly larger A319neo.[154] Delta Air Lines ordered 15 further A220s for a total of 90 until 2023, including a conversion of 50 to the larger 130-seat A220-300 from 2020.[177] Airbus acknowledged that competition between the A220-300 and the A319neo was resulting in fewer A319 orders, but confirmed that the A319neo will not be discontinued.[83] In May 2019, a Delta Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificate report indicated the A220-100 mean appraised value was $34.1 million per aircraft, but there was wide variation.[178]

At the Paris Air Show 2019, Air Lease Corporation signed a letter of intent for 50 A220-300s, thus becoming the first major leasing company to order the type.[179] In July 2019, Air France–KLM announced a commitment for 60 A220-300s, plus options for a further 60 aircraft, to be delivered from September 2021 to replace Air France's A318 and A319 fleet.[180] Air France noted its interest in converting some orders to a stretched variant of the A220,[181] but Airbus still had no plan to stretch the airliner as of November 2019.[182] The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would bring the backlog to a total of 611 aircraft, though up to 110 of these are indefinitely deferred "ghost" orders recorded before the Airbus partnership.[183] On 18 December 2019, the airline holding company firmed up order for 60 Airbus A220s.[184]

In October 2020, Southwest Airlines, an all-Boeing carrier since establishment and the world's largest operator of the 737 family, announced that it was considering the A220 to replace its 737-700 fleet from 2025. The A220 competes with the yet-to-be-certified 737 MAX 7, which only had 28 orders from Southwest and 25 from WestJet at the time.[185] In December 2020, in other direction, Air France's CEO, Ben Smith, said that a stretched A220 would be ideal to replace its larger narrow-bodies, the A320 and A321, but that if it is not developed on time, the company might consider the 737 MAX.[186] In March 2021, speculation that Southwest might order the A220 ended when the airline announced an order for 100 MAX 7 jets and said that negotiations with Airbus were never initiated.[187]

Airbus partnership[edit]

Background[edit]

The CSeries competed with the smaller variants of the A320 family aircraft. Airbus COO–Customers, John Leahy, opted to aggressively compete against the CSeries rather than ignoring it, as Boeing had done with Airbus.[165] Airbus dropped the A320's price in head-to-head competition, successfully blocking Bombardier from several deals.[165] The 2010 order for 40 CS300s and 40 options from Republic Airways Holdings – then owner of exclusive A319/320 operator Frontier Airlines – also pushed Airbus into the A320neo re-engine.[165] In October 2015, Airbus confirmed that it had turned down Bombardier's offer to sell a majority share of the CSeries programme to them. Bombardier said it would explore alternatives. Just days prior, the Government of Quebec reiterated its willingness to provide Bombardier with financial aid, if it were requested.[188][189][190] Bombardier stated its commitment to the CSeries and that it had the financial resources to support it.[191]

On 29 October 2015, Bombardier took a CA$3.2 billion write-down on the CSeries. The Trudeau government indicated that it would reply to Bombardier's request for $350 million in assistance after it took power in early November.[192] On the same day, the Quebec government invested CA$1 billion in the company to save the struggling programme.[193] In early November 2015, a Scotiabank report indicated that the company and the programme would probably need a second bailout, and that even then the CSeries would probably not make money.[194] In April 2016, Bombardier reportedly requested a CA$1 billion aid package from the Canadian Government.[195] The Government then offered an aid package without divulging the amount or conditions imposed, though some media reported that the company initially rejected the offer.[196] In February 2017, the Government finally announced a package of CA$372.5 million in interest-free loans for the company, with the programme to receive one-third.[197]

Announcement[edit]

By July 2016, Bombardier Aerospace set up the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) with Investissement Québec.[198] On 16 October 2017, Airbus and Bombardier announced that Airbus would acquire a 50.01% majority stake in this partnership, with Bombardier keeping 31% and Investissement Québec 19%, to expand in an estimated market of more than 6,000 new 100- to 150-seat aircraft over 20 years.[199] Airbus did not pay for its share in the program, nor did it assume any debt.[200][201] Its supply chain expertise should save production costs but headquarters and assembly remain in Québec while U.S. customers would benefit from a second assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.[199] This transaction was subject to regulatory approvals then expected to be completed in 2018.[199] While assembling the aircraft in U.S. could circumvent the 292% duties proposed in the dumping petition by Boeing, Airbus CEO Tom Enders and Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare assured that this factor did not drive the partnership, but negotiations began in August 2017 after the April filing and the June decision to proceed and, as a result, Boeing was suspicious.[201] Leahy considered that Boeing indirectly forced the CSeries programme into Airbus hands by pressing the U.S. administration for massive tariffs on the aircraft.[165]

Airbus insisted that it had no plan to buy out Bombardier's stake in the program and that Bombardier would remain a strategic partner after 2025, however clauses allowed it to buy out Quebec's share in 2023 and Bombardier's 7 years after the deal closes, though production is required to remain in Quebec until at least 2041.[202] AirInsight anticipated that the CSeries market share of the 100- to 149-seat market over 20 years will increase from 40% of 5,636 aircraft (2254 sales) to 55–60%, around 3,010 aircraft, through Airbus' corporate strength.[203] It was later planned to rebrand the CSeries as an Airbus model, with A200 suggested as a family name and A210/A230 for the CS100 and CS300.[204]

Reactions[edit]

In November 2017, Embraer assured at the Dubai Airshow that it would monitor Airbus involvement until antitrust immunity was granted, for dumping pricing after, and that Brazil would sue Canada for its subsidies to Bombardier through the World Trade Organization.[205] Embraer also believed supply chain costs could not be reduced enough to make the CSeries profitable, viewing it as heavy, expensive and adapted to long, thin routes exceeding the range of E-jet E2, a close rival for market share.[205]

In October 2017, Boeing was reportedly concerned over its ability to match fleet package deals enabled by the partnership.[96] In December 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported Boeing was planning to offer Embraer more than the company's $3.7 billion market value in order to establish a joint venture.[206] Aviation industry analysts saw that deal as a reaction to the partnership.[207] The Boeing–Embraer joint venture was announced in February 2019, with the deal expected to close in June 2020 following antitrust investigations, but Boeing terminated the agreement in April 2020 due to impact of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic on aviation.[208]

Approval[edit]

The A220-300 with the Airbus livery after its July 2018 takeover

During competition investigation, Airbus and Bombardier were to operate separately and clean teams with privileged access to competitively sensitive data but separated from their management planned the integration, evaluating synergies and preparing communications to regulators.[209] Antitrust approval aimed at finalisation by summer 2018 Farnborough Air Show to allow a marketing push.[210]

On 8 June 2018, after regulatory approval, the partners announced that Airbus would take a majority stake on 1 July 2018.[211] The head office, leadership team and primary final assembly line (FAL) would stay in Mirabel, with its workforce of 2,200.[211] The secondary FAL in Mobile would start deliveries in 2020 with a monthly production rate of four, rising to six for a capacity of eight while the main Mirabel FAL could go to ten.[212] Bombardier would fund the cash shortfalls if required, up to US$610 million from the second half of 2018 to 2021.[211]

It was intended that the programme team would be formed by leaders from both Bombardier and Airbus and headed by Philippe Balducchi, then Head of Performance Management at Airbus Commercial Aircraft.[213] Ten days after programme control was transferred to Airbus, the aircraft was rebranded as the A220-100/300.[214] Later, on 1 June 2019, the CSALP joint venture was renamed to Airbus Canada Limited Partnership and adopted the Airbus logo as its sole visual identity.[215]

Exit of Bombardier[edit]

Airbus targeted over 100 orders of A220 in 2018 and 3,000 over 20 years, half of the 100- to 150-seat market, and needed a supply chain cost reduction over 10%.[216] Airbus then sought to reduce costs from all suppliers, including Bombardier, wing builder Short Brothers and engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney. It has reportedly pushed its suppliers to lower their prices by 20% for more volume, or to switch them, towards 150 yearly deliveries.[217] Supplier costs could be cut by 30–40% by Airbus's market power, as a 10% procurement costs decrease would add six gross margin points to the programme.[96]

After reassessing its participation in January 2020, Bombardier exited the A220 programme in February 2020, selling its share to Airbus for $591 million. Airbus owns 75% of the programme; the remaining 25%, held by Investissement Québec, which can be redeemed by Airbus earliest in 2026, three years later than the previous 2023 time-frame in the partnership announcement. Airbus had also agreed to acquire A220 and A330 work package production capabilities from Bombardier in Saint-Laurent, to be taken through the Airbus' subsidiary, Stelia Aerospace.[218]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Engine issues[edit]

After three inflight shutdowns in July, September, and October 2019, Swiss International Air Lines withdrew its fleet for inspection.[219][220] After those engine failures, Transport Canada issued an emergency airworthiness directive limiting the power to 94% of N1 (Low Pressure Spool rotational speed) above 29,000 ft (8,800 m), disengaging the autothrottle for the climb over this altitude before engaging it again in cruise.[221]

Specifications[edit]

Airbus A220 specifications[22]
Variant A220-100 (BD-500-1A10)[222] A220-300 (BD-500-1A11)[222]
Cockpit crew 2 pilots
Passengers 100-120 (135 max)[223] 120-150 (160 max)[223]
Seat pitch 28–36 in (71–91 cm) in Y/J 28–38 in (71–97 cm) in Y/J
Seat width 18.5 to 20 in (47 to 51 cm)
Cargo volume 23.7 m³ / 839 cu.ft 31.6 m³ / 1,118 cu.ft
Length 35.00 m / 114' 9" 38.70 m / 127' 0"
Wing 35.10 m / 115' 1" span / 112.3 m2 (1,209 sq ft) area (10.97 AR)
Height 11.50 m / 38' 8"
Fuselage diameter 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)
Cabin 3.28 m / 10' 9" width / 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in) height
Cabin length 23.7 m (78 ft)[224] 27.5 m (90 ft)[225]
MTOW[223] 63.10 t / 139,000 lb 70.90 t / 156,000 lb[107]
Maximum payload 15.1 t (33,300 lb) 18.7 t (41,200 lb)
OEW 77,650 lb (35.22 t)[226] 81,750 lb (37.08 t)[227]
Fuel capacity[223] 21,805 L / 5,760 USgal 21,508 L / 5,681 USgal
Range[223] 6,297 km / 3,400 nmi 6,574 km / 3,550 nmi[107]
Cruise speed Mach .82 (470 kn; 871 km/h) max, Mach .78 (447 kn; 829 km/h) typical
Takeoff distance (MTOW) 4,800 ft / 1,463 m[224] 6,200 ft / 1,890 m[225]
Landing distance (MLW) 4,550 ft / 1,387 m[224] 4,950 ft / 1,509 m[225]
Ceiling 41,000 ft / 12,497 m[222]
Engines Pratt & Whitney PW1500G
Unit thrust 18,900–23,300 lbf / 84.1–103.6 kN 21,000–23,300 lbf / 93.4–103.6 kN
ICAO type BCS1[228] BCS3[228]

See also[edit]

Current and future generation regional jets and small narrowbodies, based on CAPA and Bombardier

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

References[edit]

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External links[edit]