Montreal - Airbus considers producing a larger variant of its Canadian single-aisle in the near future if the A220 program consolidates its place in the commercial aviation industry.
During an event in Airbus's Mobile factory on January 16, Guillaume Faury, president of the commercial aircraft at Airbus, said to journalists that his company would further invest in the diversification of the A220 family after ramping up the production of the aircraft.
Industry experts speculate that the new model would be named A220-500.
Although there is a strong potential for an extended A220 model, they are not there yet Faury noted. The program still needs to prove that it is financially sustainable. Airbus is currently pushing its suppliers to save over 10% in production costs on each A220 that leaves the assembly line.
Rumors had been circulating around for a while suggesting that the Canadian aircraft manufacturer would develop a larger version of the A220 and name it CSeries again, but Bombardier refuted the claims.
Airbus currently offers two models to its customers from the A220 family - the A220-100 (formerly CS100) and the A220-300 (formerly CS-300). The A220-100 is configured to accommodate from 108 to 133 seats while the -300 variant could carry up to 160 passengers.
Industry voices an A220-500 with around 170 seats in 34 rows.
The Airbus A220, which is previously acknowledged as Bombardier CSeries, is a medium-range jet program marketed by Airbus but originally designed and built by the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace.
The shortest variant CS100 carried out its first flight on September 16, 2013, and entered service on July 15, 2016, with Swiss Airlines. The CS300 made its maiden flight on February 27, 2015, and entered service with launch customer airBaltic on December 16, 2016.
Bombardier spent more than $6 billion to develop the CSeries after launching it in 2008 - two years late and about $2 billion over budget. Nevertheless, the program couldn't catch a remarkable sales success until Airbus takes over the majority stake of the turbulent program in July 2018.
2018 also became a year that Boeing filed a complaint against Bombardier for unfair government subsidies and extreme discounts in the sales of CSeries jets to the U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines.
But the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled against Boeing concluding that the CSeries jets weren't competing in the same segment with the 737 family jets of the American manufacturer.
According to the manufacturer, the A220 is the only aircraft built for the 100-150 seat segment. The aircraft is equipped with Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines and have at least 20% lower fuel consumption compared to previous generation jets.
The A220 program has so far accumulated more than 500 orders from customers around the world. It recently obtained ETOPS 180 certification from Transport Canada paving the way for transatlantic flights.
Airbus started construction works to open a second assembly line for the A220s at its Mobile, Alabama factory. The manufacturer plans to deliver the first Mobile-assembled A220 in 2020.
Image Credit: Ryan Remiors