Europe-based global aerospace group Airbus announced in Canada on Tuesday that it would be offering airlines an increased range version of its A220 small (100 seats to 150 seats) single-aisle airliner family, from the second half of next year. The A220 family is composed of two models, the A220-100 and the A220-300, and was originally developed by Canadian aerospace company Bombardier as the CSeries.
(The development of the aircraft nearly bankrupted Bombardier and it sold 50.1% of the CSeries programme to Airbus, the deal being closed in July 2018. Bombardier retained a 34% share, with Investissement Québec – the Quebec provincial investment agency – holding some 16%.)
A220 programme engineers have been able to take advantage of structural and systems margins in the design, plus the current fuel volume capacity. As a result, they have been able to increase the type’s maximum take-off weight (MTOW) by nearly 2.3 t (by 2 268 kg, to be precise). This increases the A220-100’s MTOW from its current 60.8 t to 63.1 t, and the MTOW of the A220-300 from today’s 67.6 t to 69.9 t.
In turn, this increases the range of the two models by some 450 nautical miles (nm). The extended range version of the A220-100 will have a range of 3 400 nm, while that of the extended range A220-300 will be 3 350 nm. This will allow these aircraft to service new routes, such as between Europe and the Middle East or between South East Asia and Australia.
“In true Airbus tradition we improve our products constantly,” affirmed Airbus chief commercial cfficer Christian Scherer. “This new MTOW will allow operators to reach markets which today cannot be served by other small single-aisle aircraft types.”
“Since its entry-into-service close to three years ago, the A220 aircraft has already proven that it is meeting or beating its initial performance targets, bringing more flexibility and revenue potential to customers,” highlighted A220 engineering & customer support head Rob Dewar. “Today, Airbus is reinforcing its confidence in the A220 platform and further enhancing its capabilities to meet upcoming market requirements.”
The manufacturer described the A220 as being “purpose built for efficiency”, using advanced materials and leading-edge aerodynamics. The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofans, which burn at least 20% less fuel per seat when compared to previous generation airliners. Currently, the A220’s order book stands at more than 530 aircraft.