Airbus has made a mammoth prediction that the global market will need over 7,000 Airbus A220 regional aircraft across the next 20 years. Despite only having 72 in operation before the Paris Air Show, Airbus believes that in the future there will be more than 100 times that number of Airbus A220s flying in our skies. What are the details? According to Flight Global, at the Paris Air Show, Air Lease ordered 50 A220s. This order plus many more at the airshow has taken the A220 from a niche regional aircraft up to a solid addition to any airline’s fleet. Airbus believes that in the next 20 years there will be demand for 7,000 aircraft with a seat range of 100-150 seats. The A220, with a seat range of 110-160 depending on the variant, is perfectly suited to this market, and can offer 20% less fuel burn per seat than competing aircraft (such as the Boeing Brazil / Embraer range). A220 program chief Philippe Balducchi told Flight Global, How is Airbus meeting this demand? Airbus plans to meet this demand by having two factory sites, one in Mobile, Alabama, and another in Mirabel, Montreal, capable of producing four and 10 A220s a month respectively. This will mean that they can produce 168 aircraft per year, and over the next twenty years reach around 4,000 deliveries. “Is there enough demand with our current backlog [for] two facilities? I think the answer is clearly yes,” said Airbus America’s chief executive Jeffrey Knittel to Flight Global. Readers will notice that both these production facilities are located in North America, were Airbus believes there is the most demand for the aircraft type. “…the single largest market for this aircraft, the A220, is North America,” Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said to Flight Global back in January. And they are not wrong. With 60 orders from JetBlue, 60 from airline Startup Moxy and Delta well on the way with their massive A220 fleet expansion, North America will keep Airbus busy for some time. Where is the rest of the demand? The A220 is such a useful aircraft that there are plenty of other regions in the world which might see it fill the skies. China is a huge obvious marketplace. With plans to build over 200 new airports in the next 20 years, China will be looking for an aircraft that is capable of transporting their population around these regional centers in a point to point capacity. However, they are working on an A220 competitor of their own too.
India is likewise a huge market where the fuel efficiency of the A220 will come into play. With news that some flights are being sold for as little as $0.02 cents, airlines will be looking for out-of-the-box ways to stay competitive.
Australia, or rather Qantas, will be looking to replace their regional aircraft fleet that is pushing 25 years. They recently fell in love with the A321XLR at the Paris Air Show, and there is no reason why they wouldn’t also buy its little brother A220 for the dusty outback regional centers.
Hawaii is a market well suited for the A220, with Hawaiian Airlines looking to replace their Boeing 717s, although the competition with Embraer is fierce for this market. What do you think? Let us know in the comments if you think any other marketplaces are well suited for the A220.