Airbus marks A220 debut with JetBlue order announcement

Airbus has officially unveiled its new A220 aircraft at its Toulouse delivery centre and announced that JetBlue has placed an order for 60 of the planes.

The A220-300 completes its runway rollout at France’s Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (Credit: S Ramadier)

The A220 is a result of the partnership agreement signed in October 2017 between Airbus and Bombardier, which saw the former take a majority stake in the latter’s C-Series aircraft business. Bombardier’s CS100 and the CS300 have been assimilated into the Airbus family as the A220-100 and A220-300. The single-aisle aircraft can seat between 100 and 150 passengers.

“Everyone at Airbus has been looking forward to this historic moment,” said Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “Today, we are thrilled to welcome the A220 to the Airbus family and are honoured to see it wearing its new Airbus colours for the first time.

“I pay tribute to all the women and men at Bombardier and the supply chain who have strived over the past years to bring this fantastic aircraft to the world. The A220 now enters a new phase in its career with all Airbus’ resources behind it to further its commercial success worldwide.”

Airbus heads south in battle with Boeing

Airbus marked the occasion by revealing that US airline JetBlue has placed an order for 60 of the larger A220-300 variant, with an option for a further 60 from 2025. The deal could have positive implications for Bombardier’s Belfast plant, where the plane’s wings are manufactured. JetBlue’s aircraft will almost certainly be assembled at Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama facility, potentially helping to avoid any tariffs. Last year, the US Department of Commerce levelled a 300 per cent tariff against the Bombardier C-Series. The decision was later overturned unanimously by the US International Trade Commission (ITC). However, the imposition of future tariffs remains a threat under the Trump administration.

In addition to the 60 A220s, JetBlue also announced that it was converting 25 of its existing orders for Airbus A320neo aircraft into orders for the larger A321neo. Both the A220s and the A321neos will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines.

“We are evolving our fleet for the future of JetBlue, and the A220-300’s impressive range and economics offer us flexibility and support our key financial and operating priorities,” said Robin Hayes, the JetBlue’s chief executive officer. “As JetBlue approaches our 20th anniversary, the A220, combined with our A321 and restyled A320 fleet, will help ensure we deliver the best onboard experience to customers and meet our long-term financial targets as we continue disciplined growth into the future.”