Bombardier CSeries Rebranded As Airbus A220

Last year, Bombardier ran into problems with Boeing and the US government regarding their newest aircraft type, the CSeries. As Ben has previously explained:

  • Boeing claimed that the CSeries plane was heavily subsidized by the Canadian government, and filed a complaint with the US Commerce Department
  • The Trump administration sided with Boeing, and proposed a duty of ~300% on US airlines buying this plane, as a penalty
  • Delta has 75 CSeries planes on order, calls this absurd, and says they won’t be paying the tariff but still expect they’ll get the plane

Bombardier came up with a creative solution to get around this sales duty, by selling the majority of the CSeries product to Airbus. The timing of this was interesting, since clearly this was something they had been working towards even before the tariff issue arose. Airbus took over the program on July 1 of this year.

I haven’t had a chance to fly the C Series yet, although I did spot one in Swiss livery at Zurich airport two weeks ago.

Inside the Swiss CSeries/A220

Airbus A220

Airbus has held a huge press event today in Toulouse, where they have announced the CSeries will be renamed the Airbus A220, effectively immediately, which will fit in line with how Airbus planes are branded (think A320, A350 and A380).

Specifically:

  • The larger CS300 will now be known as the A220-300
  • The smaller CS100 will now be known as the A220-100

Using the ‘200’ series of numbering makes sense, given it is a smaller aircraft type than most of the A300 series. The A220-100 is designed to seat 110 passengers, while the smallest A300 series still being produced (the A319) is designed to seat 124 passengers. Airbus ceased production of the A318 model back in 2013.

Of course, both Bombardier and Airbus are very pleased with their novel solution to the duty problem, with Airbus’ President of Commercial Aircraft, Guillaume Faury saying today:

Everyone at Airbus has been looking forward to this historic moment. Today, we are thrilled to welcome the A220 to the Airbus family and are honoured to see it wearing its new Airbus colours for the first time. I pay tribute to all the women and men at Bombardier and the supply chain who have strived over the past years to bring this fantastic aircraft to the world. The A220 now enters a new phase in its career with all Airbus’ resources behind it to further its commercial success worldwide.

In total, 402 CSeries/A220 variants have already been ordered, with just 36 delivered, to Swiss (22), AirBaltic (9) and Korean Air (5), so the production line will be busy for many years to come. The head of the CSeries program expects to sell 3,000 frames over the next 20 years.

Delta still has the largest order with 75, with new start-up airline Moxy having the second largest with 60.

The new Airbus A220 (Source: Airline Ratings)

Bottom line

This is just a rebranding exercise with a big launch event to drum up publicity and hopefully more sales, but it’s a smart move by both Airbus and Bombardier so that Airbus can offer a consistent product family.

I’m really looking forward to trying out this new aircraft type (regardless of whether it is painted as a CSeries or an A220!).

Have you flown the new ‘Airbus A220?’

Comments

  1. Delighted for Bombardier as their product would finally get the recognition it deserves, albeit under a different name. Here’s hoping more Indian airlines also order it now, plenty of routes where a 120 seater aircraft would be just the right size.

  2. Interesting. I will be flying the “220-300” for the first time from ZRH to LCY on Thursday.

  3. Awful aircraft, hope I never have to fly one in J (no flatbed) and worse than 320 that EY flies

  4. My only question is what will they name future variants? Just as we have 330-200 330-300 330-800 330-900 how will they do this when they have two different planes in the 220-XXX name?

  5. Do any of you know if any airline is implementing real business class seats in them? Looks very tight to me, possible 1-1 configuration?

  6. I flew one of them between Paris and Riga. Comfortable and silent. Loved the airy contemporary cabin.

  7. @James – the world works very differently over here and I like it like that. No flatbed on a 45 min flight in J, choose another airline. Champagne brand and wine list not good enough, choose another airline. Genuine hospitality, customer service and excellent end product. A220 cannot deliver that experience except for a 1-1 config which no airline is going for. I do not fly Y.

  8. @James – even on 20 min flights not interested in ever flying slimline wo ife – such airframes should be wrecked

  9. @Varun Susarla – oh please enlighten us on the mystical world where airlines are flying 45min flights with lie flat J and Champagne choice

  10. In what way is this a “novel solution to the duty problem” given there is no longer a duty problem? (Or have I missed something?)

  11. @Alfredbali – I am sick and tired of the western world falling from their pedestal with regards to shorthaul travel. BA and Braniff were once the best in the world for shorthaul – look at them now, one crap and the other gone

  12. @Varun Susarla – I totally get frustrated when my toilet seat is not pure gold. The west has slipped indeed.

    Now, I assume you were talking about actual flight time. Which airlines? What is your favourite plane and lie flat product over a short flight? Why am I wasting my life reading Lucky’s blog, when I should be reading yours.

  13. @Hutch – sarcasm aside, my absolute favorite product on flights less than 1 hour is UL, not QR. On Sri Lankan, a predeparure beverage of choice and hot or cold towel are served on boarding and orders from the 3 course menu are taken. Once airborne meals are served efficiently and beverages are offered. The meals are actually served in courses and the catering is of a high quality. You should really visit some time!

  14. I fly frequently with CSeries planes since their launch. I love this plane in its 2-2 configuration. Since it is for short flights, I don’t see the need for business classe…

  15. Tried the SWISS version of the plane in economy last year. Well, it’s a pretty plane, but my back was killing me after a short ZRH-CDG hop. Never had this problem with the standard Lufthansa/Swiss/Austrian etc. Recaro seats. Plus the legroom felt less than on a SWISS A320.
    I must also say that some things were already malfunctioning – flickering overhead screens, one overhead bin didn’t fully close, some creaking here and there. The plane didn’t feel sturdy and well-made, even though it was very good-looking.
    Besides, I know SWISS uses this plane on DME-GVA route, which is almost 4 hours.

  16. @Christian Hay – Imagine paying for J longhaul or just paying for J in general and ending up in a crappy Y or limited recliner J seat for one segment, no thanks!

  17. Tragic. It looks like the duopoly of Airbus and Boeing will never be broken. This is what happens when you have unrestrained capitalism

  18. Flew the CS300 on its inaugural with airBaltic and the flight was just delightful. It’s a quiet, spacious, comfortable, modern plane and certainly a preferred option over a CRJ.

  19. @Varun, I’ll happily take the western world’s sub-par shorthaul travel experience in exchange for clean cities, reliable electricity, drinkable tap water and organized way of life. We might have to endure smaller seats and fewer amenities, but there’s nobody defecating in our streets, either.

  20. It’s a shame that Bombardier had to lose its name on the C Series. Guess that’s a win for Trump. He should be pleased that now Boeing has joined up with another great American aeroplane manufacturer building planes in the USA (or are they?)

  21. Jetblue just announced 60 plane firm 60 options for the 220-300. Delivery starts in 2020-2025.

  22. I feel like Bombardier isnt getting enough credit for this amazing plane. It was good enough to scare Boeing.

  23. @Varun Susarla – No no, I’m fine slumming it in the west and can manage 1hr sitting upright. Must be tough though, what do you do when you want to go somewhere and there ain’t a lie flat J?

    @speedbird – he knows. He just lives his life flat.

    Nice plane though.

  24. @James S,
    You should come to Seattle. You’ll see lots of people defecating in the streets.

  25. Despite the gutter-level of the posts on this article, I wish to contribute that just last week flew the Swiss version ZRH – FRA in their Business Class service. Although still Y seats, the blocked seats made for a comfortable trip – much better then 737’s with the middle-seats blocked and seat-edge ridges gouging into my back. I am a larger person and yet found the flight quite comfortable – and yes, I DO know what premium travel is like – the rest of our trip was in F with LX and LF. As a slightly taller man, I appreciated the larger and higher windows in the C Series as I actually got to see more than just the tarmac as one does in Boeing planes. Thank you Bombardier for a comfortable aircraft for the shorter flights.

  26. @Azamaraak – If that is what it competes with then fair enough.
    Flatbeds on 320/737 are becoming the norm in asia, from QR, FZ to MH and PR.

  27. Lovely plane. Have flown it regularly since I was on the CS300 inaugural flight from Riga to Amsterdam in 2016. As a tall person, I really appreciate the larger windows which allow me to not break my neck in order to look outside. The overhead bins are huge, the engine hum very quiet and the general design is very stylish.
    The plane is a big improvement for airBaltic, which only has outdated 737’s and cramped Q400’s.
    It’s too bad this plane will not enable Bombardier to become the third large plane builder, but at least the future of the model seems secure now. As a Riga-based traveler, I am very relieved about that.

    @Speedbird: it does actually fly more than 3 hours. BT operates seasonal routes from RIX to Abu Dhabi and Almaty which are 5-6 hours one way. Have to admit though, the thinly padded seats on the BT cabin are probably not the most comfy on those overnight trips.

  28. I’ve been on both the CS1 and CS3 of Swiss (LX) and have to confirm it’s very tight. On a positive note, luggage racks are huge, so at least your hand luggage travels comfortably …

    But irony on the side, LX is indeed using it in medium haul, such as GVA-DME or ZRH-CAI, both more than 4 hours … also the CAI flight is a red eye …

  29. Sorry to some of you on this thread as I have arrived from a parallel universe called planet economy ( y class). Just returned GVA to LHR with Swiss on an A220_300. Great service, ample leg, hip and shoulder room, pleasant environment , smart interior, and all for £30.00. The aircraft is ideal for short sectors and feels more spacious than some other Airbus and Boeing offerings partly due to massive windows. I wish Bombardier/ Airbus every success. How someone can criticise this plane without going on one is not on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *