The end of 2020 is proving positive for the Airbus A220 as sales ramp up and rumors circulate about a stretched version that would seat as many passengers as a Boeing 737 MAX. On Jan. 1, JetBlue became the third North American carrier (behind Delta and Air Canada) to operate the former Bombardier CSeries. The first of 70 JetBlue A220s was ferried from the assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, where aircraft for U.S. carriers are built, to the airline’s headquarters in New York on Friday. The plane is 30 percent more fuel efficient and has 40 percent less maintenance costs than the Embraer E190 that it replaces. “As we evolve our fleet for the future, the A220’s significant reduction in per-seat emissions supports our ongoing commitment to carbon neutrality for all our domestic flights, and moves us closer to achieving our pledge of net zero carbon emissions across all operations by 2040,” said JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes.
The delivery comes a week after Air France signed the paperwork for a 60-plane order. The A220s will replace the carrier’s current fleet of A318s and A319s and again fuel efficiency and cost effectiveness were the selling points. “We are very pleased to work with Airbus to add the A220-300 to our fleet, an aircraft that demonstrates optimum environmental, operational, and economic efficiency,” said Airbus CEO Benjamin Smith. “The selection of the Airbus A220-300 supports our goal of a more sustainable operation, by significantly reducing CO2 and noise emissions.” Air France wants to replace its larger A320 and 321 aircraft and has been leaning toward the 737 MAX but has let Airbus know that a stretched version of the A220 would be a contender for that order.