Airbus Canada Limited Partnership marked its first anniversary on July 1, 2019, one year exactly after Airbus became the majority partner in the A220 aircraft program. In 2019, Airbus is also celebrating the 35th anniversary of its presence in Canada.
Highlights of this first anniversary include orders and commitments signed for more than 230 A220 aircraft, the ground-breaking for a new A220 manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama, and expansion at the Mirabel manufacturing facility. Airbus Canada has delivered more aircraft in its first year than the total delivered up to July 1, 2018, when it took the lead of the program.*
In total, the A220 ends the first year of Airbus leading the program with a healthy firm order book of over 500 aircraft, plus 80 additional commitments announced at this year’s Paris Air Show including from leading international lessors, indicating strong demand for the aircraft in markets worldwide.
“This has been a year of growth and accomplishment for the A220,” said Philippe Balducchi, CEO of Airbus Canada Limited Partnership and Country Head, Airbus Canada. “This truly innovative Quebec-born aircraft is making its mark on the aviation industry around the world. It is thanks to the strong collaboration with our customers, partners, suppliers and all our employees that we have made great strides to ensuring the success of the A220 for many years to come.”
* Airbus will publish its order and delivery numbers for the month of June 2019 in the coming days.
In January 2019, Airbus held a ground-breaking ceremony for its new A220 manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama, where A220 aircraft for the U.S. market will be assembled, using essentially the same supply chain as for aircraft assembled in Mirabel. The Mobile facility is currently under construction and the start of aircraft assembly work will be in Q3 this year, with the first delivery planned for the middle of next year. Airbus employees from the A220 facility in Mobile have already started their training activities in Mirabel.
At the primary A220 facility in Mirabel, two new dome structures were built early this year to provide additional space to accommodate the increased pace of production. The new five-year labour contract approved by unionized Mirabel employees on June 15, 2019, calls for the construction of an additional “pre-assembly” facility.
One of the highlights of the past year was the first delivery of an Airbus A220 aircraft to a U.S.-based airline. Delta Air Lines took delivery of the first of 90 A220s it has ordered at a ceremony at Mirabel in October 2018 and conducted the first revenue-earning flight of an A220 in the Americas on February 7, 2019, from New York’s La Guardia Airport to Boston’s Logan Airport.
In December 2018, Air Tanzania took delivery of its first A220 aircraft, becoming a new customer for Airbus and the first African operator of the A220. At present, six airlines based on four continents are operating A220 aircraft: airBaltic, Air Tanzania, Delta Air Lines, EgyptAir, Korean Airlines and Swiss.
Mirabel employees delivered two major milestones for Airbus globally during the past year. In December, they completed and delivered the company’s 800th aircraft of the year, allowing Airbus to meet that important objective for the year. In May 2019, an A220 for Delta Air Lines was the 12,000th aircraft delivered by Airbus since its founding 50 years ago.
Another key accomplishment for the A220 program was the receipt in January 2019 of certification from Transport Canada for the aircraft to operate up to 180 minutes away from an airport, permitting it to fly new direct non-limiting routings over water, remote or underserved regions.
Mirabel-based engineers continue to make improvements to the A220 aircraft. In May 2019, Airbus announced it will increase the maximum take-off weight of the A220 by 2,268 kg, which will increase the aircraft’s range by 450 nautical miles (nm) or 830 km. This increases the range of the A220-100 to 3,400 nm (6,300 km) and the larger A220-300 to 3,350 nm (6,200 km), enabling flights from Montreal to London or from Vancouver to Cuba.