Airbus SE has a new narrow-body aircraft series to offer customers, the A220 family unveiled for the first time this week at the OEM’s aircraft delivery center in Toulouse, France. In fact, the A220-100 and A220-300 jets are the same aircraft formerly designated as the Bombardier CS100 and CS300. Airbus assumed majority ownership of the C Series program earlier this month, having agreed late last year to take an equity stake in exchange for marketing and supply services that both Airbus and Bombardier expect will make the A220 series more globally competitive.
For example, Airbus intends to install a final assembly line for the A220 at its complex in Mobile, Ala. That would increase the production capacity and reduce the risk of tariffs on delivery of aircraft ordered by U.S.-based carriers.
That calculation has apparently already won a valuable order for Airbus: JetBlue Airways Corp. contracted Airbus for 60 A220-300 aircraft, a $5.4 billion order based on list prices. It’s the first contract for the A220, and also includes options for as many as 60 more A220 jets. Deliveries would begin in 2020.
Also, JetBlue plans to convert previous orders for 25 Airbus A320neo aircraft into orders for the larger A321neo. In all, the deal will lead to JetBlue operating an all-Airbus fleet, as it replaces Embraer E190 jets with the new A220s.
Bombardier reportedly invested over $6 billion to develop the C Series, and the jet’s commercial debut came in July 2016. The twin-engine aircraft are sized to carry 108-133 passengers (A220-100) and 130-160 passengers (A220-300), which “perfectly complement(s) Airbus’ existing best-selling A320neo family,” the OEM stated.
Prior to the JetBlue order, Bombardier had recorded 402 orders for the C Series aircraft.