Airbus will kick off a promotional tour of its A220 regional jet in the Pacific region with a visit on Sunday to the aircraft’s first South Pacific customer Air Vanuatu.
The aircraft manufacturer will host a private tour of the aircraft for Air Vanuatu, Airports Vanuatu and Vanuatu Tourism Office employees at Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila before a demonstration flight over Vanuatu’s archipelago on Monday.
The demonstration tour will use an A220-300 from launch customer, Latvia’s airBaltic.
After the stop in Port Vila, the airBaltic A220-300 was scheduled to visit Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, New Caledonia (Noumea) and Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby), before returning to Europe via Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and India (Bangalore and New Delhi).
Static displays and demonstration flights have been planned for airline executives and other invited guests at each stop, Airbus said in a statement on Thursday (European time).
Air Vanuatu signed a firm order for four A220s plus purchase rights for a further four aircraft at the 2019 Avalon Airshow. The first of these was expected to be delivered in June 2020, with the aircraft used to boost frequencies on existing routes and expand to new domestic international ports.
“The addition of the A220 into our fleet will give Air Vanuatu flexibility to increase our network and provide additional services to more destinations with a greater level of customer comfort,” chairman Joel Lengsau told reporters at the airshow in February.
“The new aircraft will also mean additional jobs for pilots and cabin crews, together with maintenance and ramp teams at airports,” he said.
Air Vanuatu’s Australian network comprises flights from Brisbane to Port Vila and to Luganville, from Sydney to Port Vila and between Port Vila and Melbourne. It also flies to Auckland in New Zealand, Nadi in Fiji and Noumea in New Caledonia.
The airline’s A220 order comprised two A220-100s featuring eight business and 100 economy seats and two A220-300s with eight business and 125 economy seats.
The airBaltic A220-300 being used on the Pacific tour was fitted with a single class passenger cabin with 145 seats. As on all A220 aircraft, the layout comprised three seats on one side of the aisle and two on the other.
A220 was formerly known as the CSeries
The A220 is the newest member of the Airbus family of commercial aircraft. It was formerly known as the CSeries when the program was managed by Bombardier.
However, in October 2017 Airbus struck an agreement with Bombardier to become a partner and 50.01 per cent majority shareholder in the CSeries, with Bombardier and the Quebec government’s investment arm, Investissement Québec, owning approximately 34 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.
The deal was finalised on July 1 2018 and later in the month Airbus officially rebranded the CSeries as the A220 at an event held at its Toulouse headquarters.
Powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofans, the A220 family comprises two models – the A220-100 (100-135 seats) and A220-300 (130-160 seats), formerly Bombardier’s CS100 and CS300.
In May, Airbus said it would offer additional 450nm of range on the A220 from the second half of 2020 thanks to an increase in maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 2.3 metric tonnes.
As a result, the A220-100 would have a range of 3,400nm, while the A220-300 would have a range of 3,350nm. This was 450nm more than the current published range for the two aircraft.
The A220-100’s basic MTOW would increase to 63.1t, from 60.8t currently, while the A220-300 would have a basic MTOW of 69.9t, up from 67.6t.
VIDEO: A closer look at the Airbus A220 from the Airbus YouTube channel.
In the June 2019 edition of Australian Aviation, John Walton wrote an in-depth feature looking at the A220 family of aircraft. That story can be read here.