Daily Management Review

Airbus Pushing To Increase Flight Range Of A220 Jets, Says The Newest US Carrier


Airbus Pushing To Increase Flight Range Of A220 Jets, Says The Newest US Carrier
Airlines using Airbus’ smallest jet, the A220, will now have the option of open more niche routes internationally because the European plane maker is pushing ahead with its plans to plans to increase the range of the craft, said reports quoting the newest operator of the planes.
There were discussions with Airbus about adding extra endurance to the jetliner, airline entrepreneur David Neeleman said last month. This Canadian-designed programme was taken over by the European plane maker in 2018.
A decision to offer the longer-range jet was now a given, said Neelman in an interview to the news agency Reuters as he launched his latest venture - the United States based startup Breeze Airways.
"It is under way, so we are ... kind of arguing about when. But it is not a matter of 'if,' it is just a matter of 'when'," Neeleman said.
No detailed comments on the issue were available from Airbus.
"We are always working with our customers and listening to their fleet needs, and we don’t comment on the status of our confidential discussions," an Airbus spokeswoman told the media.
However in order to preserve and then increase the performance of the aircraft, Airbus will need to add an extra fuel tank to allow increasing distance travelled – which in turn means that the aircraft will be heavier and therefore will require an increasing of the maximum take-off weight of the plane.
"We need to get up to 4,000 (nautical) miles," Neeleman said. The A220-300 currently flies about 3,400 nm (6,300 km).
60 of the 130-seat jets have been ordered by Breeze which puts this fleet between the much larger Boeing 737 MAX 7 planes and the smaller Embraer regional jets.
There were recent reports that the order to Airbus by Breeze had already been increased by 20 planes to which Neeleman did not comment.
While reporting the latest order, Airbus did not disclose the name of the buyer. Sources in the industry however have indicated that the buyer is Breeze. The order now makes this airliner the second largest customer of the A220.
The aim of Breeze is to connect yet un-served cities of the United States and it is expected that the airline will accept deliveries of the new A220 planes starting October this year. The company plans to use these crafts on routes that take two hours or more to fly which will eventually also include international markets.
The older Embraer 190/195 aircraft taken from Azul, the Neeleman-founded Brazilian carrier, will be used by Breeze for the shorter routes.
More Embraer 195s from Azul will be taken by Breeze which will allow the Brazilian carrier to accelerate deliveries for the latest E2 model from Embraer, Neeleman said.
This strategy of Breeze to have a mixed fleet of planes is in contrast to the strategy of most other budget carriers that use the same type of aircrafts to cut down on expenses.
While denying that this strategy of the airline would put it in any form of disadvantage, Neelman said the company would be able to offset any "small" cost increases by its ability to open up dozens more routes.