Airbus increase range of A220 planes by hundreds of nautical miles

Airbus will offer an additional 450nm of range on its two-aircraft A220 regional jet program from the second half of 2020. The airframer announced on Tuesday (European time) the longer range was achieved thanks to an increase in the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 2.3 metric tonnes. As a result, the A220-100 would have a range of 3,400nm, while the A220-300 would have a range of 3,350nm. This was 450nm more than the current published range for the two aircraft. The A220-100’s basic MTOW would increase to 63.1t, from 60.8t currently, while the A220-300 would have a basic MTOW of 69.9t, up from 67.6t. “This performance increase is achieved by taking credit of existing structural and systems margins as well as existing fuel volume capacity,” Airbus said in a statement. Further, Airbus said this would allow airlines to operate the A220 on routes between Western Europe and the Middle East, or from Australia to Southeast Asia, that were not possible previously. Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer described the clean-sheet design A220 as a “wonderful machine” with the flexibility and versatility be deployed on both short-hop regional and longer range routes with outstanding operating economics. “This new MTOW will allow operators to reach markets which today cannot be served by other small single-aisle aircraft types,” Scherer said. The performance improvements Airbus announced on Tuesday was the latest indication of the A220’s long-range potential. In January 2019, Canada’s civil aviation authority Transport Canada approved the A220 regional jet to operate under 180-minute extended operations (ETOPS) rules, which meant the aircraft could be flown on a route that kept it within three hours flying time on a single engine from an alternate airport in the event of an engine failure. The 180-minute ETOPS would be an available option for both the A220-100 and A220-300 and would allow operators of the type to fly “new direct non-limiting routings over water, remote or underserved regions”, Airbus said at the time. 


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