What New Airbus A220 Operators Can We Expect To See This Decade?

The Airbus A220 has had a significant impact on the short-haul market since entering service with SWISS in July 2016. Nearly five years later, it has become an increasingly widespread aircraft. However, the majority of orders for the type are yet to be delivered. As such, the 2020s are set to be an important decade for the aircraft, but who else will operate it?

Bird Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-100
The majority of A220s are yet to be delivered. Photo: Getty Images

Breaking down the orders and deliveries

At the end of every month, European aerospace manufacturer Airbus publishes its latest orders and deliveries figures. At the time of writing, this data showed that there had been a total of 649 orders placed for the A220 family. These date back to 2009, when the project was still known as the CSeries, as designed by Canadian manufacturer Bombardier.

Of these 649 orders, the vast majority are for the larger A220-300 variant. This accounts for 559 examples, representing a figure of more than 86%. The remaining 90 orders are for the family’s smaller A220-100 variant.

As far as deliveries are concerned, 152 aircraft had arrived at their customers at the time of writing. Of these, approximately two-thirds (102 planes) were the larger A220-300. Meanwhile, the A220-100 was lagging behind on 50 deliveries.

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SWISS A220-100
The A220 entered service with SWISS in July 2016 as the Bombardier CSeries. Photo: Getty Images

Which new operators will the 2020s see?

The two largest outstanding orders for the A220 belong to Air France and Breeze Airways. Each of these airlines is set to receive 60 aircraft from the family. For the French flag carrier, this will render the 2020s a decade of significant fleet modernization.

This is because the A220, which will see its first delivery to Air France in September 2021, is set to replace the airline’s aging A318 and A319 aircraft. The airline may even order more if a stretched A220-500 becomes available.

However, the story at Breeze is rather different. Indeed, with the airline being a new startup, the A220 will represent an addition to its fleet, rather than an alteration as is the case with Air France. However, much like the French flag carrier, David Neeleman’s US startup is also set to receive its first A220s this year. They will complement Breeze’s Embraer E-Jet fleet.

Air France Airbus A220
Air France has big fleet plans for the 2020s, with a total of 60 A220s on order. Image: Airbus

Several other smaller orders will see the worldwide A220 fleet grow over the next decade. For example, the aircraft is set to boost its African presence, with deliveries to the likes of Air Burkina and Air Senegal.

Meanwhile, Czech Airlines has also swapped four A320neo orders in favor of the A220. The A220 will also enter the luxury sector, with Odyssey Airlines having ordered 10 aircraft for its all-business services from London City Airport.

Who else might place orders?

In addition to the hundreds of confirmed orders for the A220, we must also consider airlines that may place such requests at later dates. Indeed, as it becomes increasingly widespread, we may find that more airlines that are yet to place orders also join the party. As such, this is another area in which the 2020s could be a big decade for the aircraft.

For example, Carlos Muñoz, the CEO of Spanish low-cost carrier Volotea, confirmed in March 2021 that the A220 was also on the cards for his airline. At the time, it was operating a fleet consisting entirely of Airbus A320 family aircraft.

Korean Air Airbus A220
The A220 is very rare in Asia. Will this trend change in the 2020s? Photo: Steven Byles via Flickr

Geographically speaking, there are certain markets where the A220 is yet to see extensive demand. One of these is Asia, where, at the time of writing, just two airlines had ordered the type. These were Korean Air and Iraqi Airways, of which only Korean had received any of the aircraft. As such, it will be interesting to see whether this Asian trend prevails, or whether carriers from the world’s most populous continent do get onboard after all.

Which airline are you most looking forward to seeing the Airbus A220 at over the next decade? Have you already flown on the aircraft with one of its existing operators? let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!


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