European planemaker Airbus is set to increase the range on its A220-300, the largest of its A220 variants, by some 200 nautical miles.
According to Airbus, from mid-2021 it will be offering A220-300 customers with a range increase of 200 nautical miles, after increasing the aircraft’s maximum take-off weight (MTOW) by one tonne to 70.9 tonnes.
The ability to carry said additional weight allows the aircraft to carry more fuel, which then extends its range.
Speaking to FlightGlobal this week, Airbus vice-president of single-aisle marketing Antonio Da Costa said, “As we were running through the numbers and looking through the reserve factors on the structure – we actually found that there was additional margin available in the structure of the [A220-300].”
He says this enabled the airframer to take the aircraft’s weight “to the limit of what we could find”, and certify the MTOW at the higher figure of 70.9 tonnes.
“This was a very pleasant surprise that we found waiting on the aircraft,” Da Costa added.
It comes following the announcement that Airbus previously made, which increased the MTOW of the A220-100 and -300 variants by 2.3 tonnes each.
This latest announcement pertains to an additional MTOW increase on the -300 variant only, Da Costa specified.
The A220-300 remains the most popular of the two variants, and makes up 539 of the 629 firm orders placed by February 2021.
From mid-2021, Airbus has said it will make the additional MTOW increase on the -300 variant available for line-fit aircraft, however, will also offer a retrofit option for the 99 A220-300s already delivered, via a service bulletin.
Da Costa said the range increase will be “made available to all customers”, as the aircraft requires no physical upgrade or adaptation to increase said range – it is instead just a “paper change”.