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Airbus starts manufacturing new A220 in Alabama, US

Tanutam Thawan

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The new Airbus A220 aircraft was touring south east asian countries, including a visit to Bangkok on Friday, last week. Today the aircraft manufacturers officially began manufacturing the A220 in the US. The first team of A220 production workers began work at Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama-based production facility. Some Thai-based airlines, including Thai Airways, are reported to be interested in the new small aircraft as an alternative replacement to some of their fleet.

The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market and is claimed to deliver unbeatable fuel efficiency and wide-body passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The new plane is just a fraction smaller than Airbus’ A320 and Boeing 373 designs and has a 3+2 seating configuration instead of the 3+3 in the other single-aisle aircraft.

The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With an order book of 551 aircraft as of end of June 2019, the A220 has all the credentials to win the 100-150 seat aircraft market, estimated to represent 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

Airbus is producing the first few aircraft within some existing A320 construction buildings and newly built support hangars. The first US-made A220, an A220-300 destined for Delta Air Lines, is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2020. By the middle of next decade, the Alabama facility will produce between 40 and 50 A220 aircraft per year.

The move of Airbus to construct some of the A220 family in the US follows trade disagreements between Canada and the US where the Trump government slapped a 300% tax on the Bombadier-derived C-Series. Airbus bought into the C-Series program with a joint venture, rebadged the plane the A220, ramped up its manufacturing facilities in the US and was then able to sell into the US aircraft market without the prohibitive tax (well that’s a short version of a much more complex trade story).

Airbus starts manufacturing new A220 in Alabama, US | News by Thaiger

 

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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