While the COVID-19 pandemic thrashes the airline and jet manufacturing industries, the Airbus A220 may actually emerge as a winner in the coronavirus new world.
Writer Edward Russell argues on the travel website The Points Guy UK that “the plane benefits from its small size and low operating costs coupled with operating capabilities that rival larger planes like the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. These are proving assets to airlines looking to slash expenses while maintaining a minimal flight schedule through the COVID-19 crisis.”
In August, 2019, Airbus opened its A220 line at its expanded facility at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile. Alabama became the second location to produce the A220, along with the former Bombardier facility in Quebec, Canada.
While the COVID-19 crisis has grounded hundreds of planes, more than half of the global A220 fleet was tracked flying during the week ending May 4th. This is a higher percentage than for either the Airbus A320 family, or Boeing’s 737 family.
Russell also reports Delta Air Lines is parking all 62 of its A320s but still flying its 31 A220-100s. Delta’s A220’s have 109 seats compared to 157 seats on their A320’s. Swiss Air operates 29 A220’s which has accounted for 83% of the airline’s flights so far in May. Air Canada maintains plans to take its full allotment of the jets this year. JetBlue plans to take its first of 70 A220’s by the end of the year.
“When we come out of the other side of this we continue to be excited about the A220s and the benefit that can bring to JetBlue”, JetBlue chief financial officer Steve Priest told analysts and investors on May 7. “The economics of this aircraft are spectacular”.
In Mobile, Airbus spokesperson Kristi Tucker says six A220’s are in various stages of production, with the first Alabama-made A220 close to completion.
See the entire Edward Russell article here