Airbus Mulls A220 New Variant

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Airbus’ A220 series has recently been at the centre of attention as the European plane maker plots its next steps with the popular series.

Much discussion has surrounded a potential stretch, dubbed the A220-500, that would better solidify the plane as a global airline’s prime choice. However, that has reportedly not been finalised per Guillaume Faury, the Chief Executive of Airbus, as said in Toulouse.

While not finalised, the aircraft manufacturer has a solid appetite for further developing a larger A220 model. This indicates they want to complete the design and more of the plane.

Since acquiring the A220 series from Bombardier when it was formally known as the CSeries, Airbus has benefitted thanks to Boeing’s lack of competition. While Embraer is an ever-looming threat, Airbus is lucky that it can essentially capture a significant portion of the market share. Moreover, as Boeing has no plans for a new airliner anytime soon, Airbus believes stretching the A220 gives it one up on competitor Boeing and makes the A220 more attractive for respective niches.

Airbus says they’re currently in discussion with customers over a stretched A220. Communicating with customers allows all parties to be directly involved in an open discussion over the plane. This is commonly seen when plane-makers study new variants, as it will yield better results at launch. Famously though, Qantas was involved in the 777 design work but never ordered the jet.

While Airbus wants to move ahead with a stretched A220, it still looks to be finalising the aircraft. The company still has problems impacting production and delivery. It would not make sense to move forward at a time when difficulties are already experienced. This will be an essential factor to consider for executives.

Daniel Fowkes
17 Feb 2023
· Aircraft 

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  1. There is a big risk of A220-500 would cannibalized 320. So, it’s a dilemma to Airbus to launch this new stretch version competiting directly with its own production. Maybe when the cost of building a 220-500 would give Airbus a benefits they would decide to go ahead.

    1. The A320 we know must end one day, and some say the next iteration will be more akin to the A220 than the current A320.

    2. It’s always better for a business to replace one of its old products with a more profitable new product than to have it done by a competitor.

      1. Very true. It can never be a EU product. It’s always a Canadian and Canadian only, apart from the French owners.

    3. Yes and No.

      While an A220-500 would have a similar seat count to an A320 they will be different planes with different capabilities.

      First while the A220-500 should have a sizable CASM advantage over the A320 NEO. The NEO will have more range and better payload. Not to mention commonality with the other NEO family aircraft notably the A321 NEO and XLR. So what is wrong with offering two possible solutions in one of the highest demand segments and let customers pick what is right for them? If Airbus doesn’t offer these solutions someone else eventually will.

      Next with the new NEO updates arguably the best plane to buy is the A321. Why buy an A320 NEO when you can get an A321 NEO at just slightly more cost with very little downside. The A320 and A321 are made on the same lines. So the A220-500 could open up some production slots to make and sell more A321’s for Airbus. Presuming Airbus can make more A220’s too!

      So if the A220-500 takes some A320 NEO sales Airbus might be okay with that. Because that might open up some more A321’s they can sell to other customers.

  2. I am not sure this is a clever move by Airbus. It puts the A-225 in the same market as their very own A-320. I believe it is some of Airbus’s A220 present customers who are pushing this narrative.

  3. It sounds like a natural progression of the a220. The one thing that I wonder is how many single aisle types and variants does Airbus want? Either way there are good reasons for a stretch a220-500 and keeping it small to stay focused on the small airliner category which Boeing does not compete.

  4. This aircraft has many problems as a mechanic who has seen this plane in person it seems it has many issues with software glitches and the troubleshooting guides always ask you if their information helped the problem you were adressing.Its almost as if they (airbus)don’t even know there own aircraft.

  5. I believe is now one and the same company.
    Stretching out the newer A220 primarily benefits Airlines with lower parts count and a longer maintenance period. It’s 20% more fuel efficient than the a320.
    On the backlog, the a220 has 500 while the a320 has 4500 orders. The segment is wide open so expect the stretched out A220. Besides it’s being produced in Canada and US so it more efficient the the a320 in China , Europe and USW

  6. Isn’t one of the regional.governments in Canada still a shareholder in the C-Series / A220 program?

    If so, not only would airbus be cannibalize it’s A320 range, it would also start sharing a larger percentage of its profits with a seperate entity.

    Business is business and planes are planes. Maybe these two entities don’t mix too well.

  7. Boeing blew this big time .Instead of fighting Bombardier they should have bought it. Now airbus reaping the rewards with minimal investment ,stretched( probably) or not

  8. The A200 500 and the rest of the A200 family may be a great way to quickly and aggressively compete with the potential threat of the Chinese Comac 919 whilst Airbus develop their ideas on the future A320 family

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