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Airbus positions A220 as Boeing 737 MAX alternative on transatlantic routes

Montreal - Rob Dewar, the chief engineer, and leading account manager of the Airbus A220 program highlighted the strengths of the A220s on transatlantic routes in an exclusive interview with the German aviation news portal aero.de.

Airbus hopes more orders in 2019 for its A220 family jets.

"We have ETOPS approvals for transatlantic flights with the A220, and we can fly in both directions without any load restrictions," Dewar told Aero.de

"We have a fantastic cabin and the necessary payload for long-haul routes, and we could fly the A220 as early as 2020 or 2021," Dewar also said.

The Airbus A220 could be a possible replacement on transatlantic routes for the Boeing's 737 MAXs which remain grounded since March after two fatal crashes at short intervals.

Apart from the A220 models, all other single-aisle jets of the Airbus and Boeing are sold out for many years to come.

The driver behind the ETOPS180 certification for up to three hours from the nearest alternate airport on the routes over the Pacific and Atlantic was the A220 customer Korean Air who aims to expand its A220 network soon on Pacific routes according to the Airbus executive.

The London-New York route was already tested said Dewar with the shorter variant A220-100. It is more suitable for exclusive all-business-class flights, explains the program manager. British Airways is currently providing a similar service with an Airbus A318, which has to refuel in Shannon, Ireland on the way.

But there are also many routes between secondary airports across the Atlantic that the A220 could fly in full seating says the manager. As an example, Norwegian followed a similar business model with its Boeing 737 MAXs on transatlantic routes between Ireland and secondary airports on the east coast of the US.

On July 1st, 2018, Airbus acquired a 50.01 percent majority stake in the former Bombardier CSeries and rebranded it as Airbus A220.

However, the sales figures of the A220 have remained meager since then with 536 firm orders and 65 aircraft deliveries as of the end of March.

This year, Airbus plans to deliver 45 A220s from Mirabel, compared with the 33 in the previous year and 17 in the first year.

A new Airbus A220 Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama, is also being set up. From the third quarter of 2020, the first Airbus A220 from the Mobile plant will be delivered to Delta Air Lines and the other US customers respectively.