Delta Air Lines took delivery of an Airbus A220-100 aircraft recently, the first of 75 in an order it placed with Bombardier for that company’s C Series jets. The delivery recalls a tense chapter in North American and aircraft industry trade matters, as the initial order prompted a charge of unfair subsidization and contributed to the consolidation trend in commercial aircraft manufacturing.
The Airbus A220 series was developed and introduced as the Bombardier C Series, narrow-body, twin-engine, medium-range jets, and now built by the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), of which Airbus is the controlling partner (50.01%.) Airbus intends to add an assembly line for the A220 series at its Mobile, Ala., complex.
The A220-100 (then, CS 100) had its commercial debut in 2016, with Swiss Air. The larger, A220-300 entered commercial service with Air Baltic later that year.
A220 series jets are powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofan engines, which promise “at least 20% lower fuel-burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft,” according to Airbus. The OEM boasts that the A220 series will gain a dominant share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market over the next 20 years.
“It is with great pride that we take delivery of our first, state-of-the-art A220-100,” stated Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “We have big plans for our A220 fleet and are confident that Delta customers and Delta people alike will be delighted with the in-flight experience provided by this thoroughly modern and efficient aircraft.”
Delta’s new A220 will enter service in early 2019. Delta is the largest A220-100 customer, with firm orders for 75 aircraft. Total orders for the A220 series exceed 400 aircraft.
Delta’s order for the C Series jets in 2016 led Boeing Corp. to charge Bombardier benefitted from illegal subsidization in the production of the aircraft: government support from several sources had been used in the development of the jet series. Cost overruns in the program were among the factors that led Bombardier to agree to the Airbus partnership, effective since mid 2018.