Airbus to refresh A220s in counter to Boeing’s mid-size jet plans
Boeing is studying whether to launch a new jet larger than its B737
French plane maker Airbus said it would boost the capabilities of its A220 single-aisle jet, in a counter move to rival Boeing’s plans to launch a mid-sized jet to serve new routes more efficiently.
Under the plans, the A220 Family jets’ maximum take-off weight – known as MTOW – will be increased by 2,268 kilograms from the second half of next year, boosting the aircrafts' maximum range capabilities to 3,350 nautical miles (nm) for the A220-300 and 3,400nm for the A220-100.
This represents an increase of 450nm more than currently possible, according to Airbus. The A220 Family, acquired from Bombardier last year, is the newest addition to Airbus’ single-aisle portfolio.
“We improve our products constantly,” said Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer at Toulouse-based Airbus, in a statement on Tuesday.
“This new MTOW will allow operators to reach markets which today cannot be served by other small single-aisle aircraft types.”
The announcement comes as a challenge to US plane manufacturer Boeing's own proposals to launch a 220-270-seat mid-sized plane – sized somewhere between traditional twin-aisle models such as the Boeing 787 or Airbus A330, and typical industry single-aisle models such as the A320/A321 and B737.
Airbus currently intends to occupy that space with its A330neo and the best-selling A321neo. Boeing has yet to make a decision on whether to bring its plans to market.
In its statement, Airbus said the enhanced A220 performance will be achieved by using existing fuel volume capacity within existing older aircraft structures. This will allow it to tap into new routes that were not possible before, connecting cities in Western Europe with the Middle East or from Southeast Asia to Australia, it said.
The A220 has an order book of more than 530 aircraft to date and it is estimated to account for 7,000 aircraft globally over the next 20 years, the planemaker added.
“Since its entry into service close to three years ago, the A220 aircraft has already proven it is meeting or beating its initial performance targets, bringing more flexibility and revenue potential to customers,” said Rob Dewar, head of engineering and customer support for the A220.
“Airbus is reinforcing its confidence in the A220 and further enhancing its capabilities to meet upcoming market requirements.”
Updated: May 22, 2019 03:55 PM