by Linnea Ahlgren | July 28, 2021
The Airbus A220 has become an increasingly popular aircraft with travelers and airlines alike, no less so with the commercial aviation landscape shifting shape for the foreseeable future. Already making up a significant portion of fleets with carriers such as Delta, SWISS, and airBaltic, we are eagerly awaiting the entry of the jet into service with many more operators across the world.
The small-but-mighty A220 is currently active with nine airlines globally. Delta Air Lines has 50, as does SWISS. Air Canada has 30, and airBaltic has 28. Egyptair has 12, Korean Air has ten, JetBlue has four, Air Tanzania has two, and Bishkek’s Air Manas has one.
However, the popular plane will soon be visible in many more liveries. With the recent addition of six planes for Russian carrier Azimuth, Airbus has now received over 650 orders for the type. With the aid of ch-aviation’s fleet database, we have compiled a list of carriers that are set to receive their first A220 – and how many will join their fleets.
While several of the abovementioned airlines have many more Airbus A220s on order – for instance, Delta will be operating as many as 95 – we have chosen to focus this article on carriers yet to take delivery of their first of the model. Here they are in alphabetical order.
Air Austral is a smaller airline that flies out of Roland Garros Airport in the French overseas department of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. It normally operates scheduled services to metropolitan France, South Africa, Thailand, India, as well as more regional destinations. Up until now, it has operated a small fleet of all-Boeing planes (with the exception of one ATR 72 turboprop).
However, just yesterday, Air Austral officially took delivery of its first Airbus A220-300. Meanwhile, the plane, registered as F-OLAV, is yet to leave Canada and enter service for the airline. The carrier has another two of the type on order.
Just a couple of days ago, we also got our first glimpse of the A220 in the tricolored livery of the French flag carrier. F-HZUA is scheduled for delivery to the airline in September – the first of a large order for 60 of the A220-300.
However, passengers of Air France will have to wait a little longer before getting to fly on the new addition. Revenue service is not scheduled to commence until a little later in the year, as the airline intends to use the first of the newcomers for training purposes over a couple of months.
Senegal’s young flag carrier, created in 2016, currently has a fleet of eight aircraft, all Airbus apart from two ATR 72s. However, when its A220s have been delivered, the size of its Dakar-based outfit will double. The airline ordered eight of the type during the Dubai Air Show in November 2019.
“These new A220 aircraft will contribute to develop our long-haul network to Europe and our regional network in Africa. Combined with our recent A330neo aircraft, this new Airbus fleet reveals Air Senegal’s ambition to offer the best travel experience for our passengers,” Ibrahima Kane, Air Sénégal, said at the time of the order.
The Port Vila-based airline was set to receive its first A220 towards the end of 2020. However, the carrier’s temporary CEO, who took the reins following the departure of Canadian airline executive Derek Nice, decided to delay deliveries.
As such, the island-nation flag carrier and its customers are still waiting for the introduction of two A220-100s and two A220-300s. Meanwhile, the first of the larger model was spotted exiting the paintshop nearly a year ago.
The Rostov-on-Don carrier regional Azimuth will be the first Russian airline to operate the A220. An order for six A220-300s was just announced at the 2021 MAKS Air Show in Moscow and constituted a step away from the airline’s previous commitment to domestically built Sukhoi Superjets SSJ100s for its operations.
Talk-of-the-town startup Breeze may have commenced operations with used Embraer E190/E195 aircraft. However, it intends to grow its fleet to no less than 80 Airbus A220-300s. David Neeleman’s new carrier focusing on underserved city pairs across the US initially ordered 60 of the plane, adding an additional 20 in April this year.
Neeleman has said that Airbus has also decided to offer a longer-range version of the jet. In May, the airline entrepreneur told Reuters,
“It is underway, so we are … kind of arguing about when. But it is not a matter of ‘if,’ it is just a matter of ‘when’.”
The flag carrier of Iraq operates a mixed fleet of 30 Boeing, Bombardier, and Airbus aircraft. The airline expects the first of five Airbus A220s to arrive in Baghdad in October this year. The order was placed back in 2013 while the aircraft was still known as the Bombardier CS300.
British startup Odyssey certainly lives up to its name thus far. Founded in 2010, the launch of operations has been pushed back several times since 2016. The carrier, to be based at London City Airport, placed its order for the A220 already back in 2013 and is expecting to receive ten of the jet.
All of Odyssey’s A220s are of the smaller -100 variety. It is planning to operate it on shorter transatlantic routes, flying to, for instance, New York and Toronto and on services to the Middle East.
CSA Czech Airlines
The troubled flag carrier of the Czech Republic officially still has four A220-300s on order. However, as the company is going through bankruptcy proceedings, Airbus is seeking compensation for the order – which the manufacturer says was never paid. Czech Airlines has a long road ahead, and so it is unclear when or if we will see the A220 based in Prague any time soon.