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Airbus A220 (C Series)

Posted on September 13 2021

Airbus A220 (C Series) user+1@localho… Tue, 08/30/2022 - 21:17

The A220 is a series of twin-engine airliners that were developed by Canadian manufacturer Bombardier. Although the two variants of the A220—the -100 and -300—were developed by Bombardier, the majority shareholder of the program is now European manufacturer Airbus. Bombardier formally announced what was, until July 1, 2018, known as the C Series at the 2004 Farnborough Airshow, with the company’s board of directors allowing the airframes to be offered to customers in 2005. At the time, the C Series—which stood for Competitive, Continental, Connector—was intended to be a replacement for a number of airframes “in the lower end of the 100 to 150-passenger market,” a segment that Bombardier believed was, as of the summer of 2004, “not well served by any aircraft in production.” The airframes that Bombardier believed its clean-sheet airplanes could replace included the BAe-146, Boeing’s 737-300, -400 and -500—the so-called 737 classics—Douglas’ DC-9 and McDonnell Douglas’ MD-80 and the Fokker 100. While Bombardier continued to work on the C Series business plan, the company announced on Jan. 31, 2007, a revised entry-into-service date of 2013.

Despite that publicly stated date for entering service, it was not until Sept. 13, 2013, that the first C Series airframe—a CS100 designated flight test vehicle (FTV) 1 and registered C-FBCS—made its first flight from Montreal-Mirabel International Airport. Subsequently, the CS100—which is designated the BD-500-1A10—was certified by Transport Canada in December 2015. The first CS100 was delivered to Swiss International Airlines in June 2016, with the type entering service between Zurich and Paris on July 15, 2016.

Less than 18 months after the first flight of the CS100, the larger CS300, which is designated the BD-500-1A11, made its first flight from Mirabel on Feb. 27, 2017. The airframe that conducted that first flight, which lasted nearly 5 hr. and reached an altitude of 41,000 ft., was designated FTV7 and registered as C-FFDK. Following the CS300’s flight-test program, it was certified by Transport Canada in July 2016, with the first delivery to launch customer and Latvian flag carrier airBaltic taking place in November 2016. The first revenue flight of the CS300, from Riga, Latvia to Amsterdam, took place on Dec. 14, 2016.

Despite those program achievements, Bombardier encountered a number of financial difficulties as a result of the development of the C Series airframes, as well as the simultaneous development of the Global 7000 business jet—which has since been renamed the Global 7500—and the cancelled Learjet 85. Consequently, on Oct. 29, 2015, the company announced that the government of Quebec would invest $1 billion into the program though its economic development arm Investissement Quebec in exchange for a 49.5% equity stake “in a newly created limited partnership.” That investment was meant to “give Bombardier the cash to take the C Series through certification to full production.” Into that partnership between Bombardier and the government of Quebec—the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP)—were transferred “the assets, liabilities and obligations of the C Series aircraft program.” Simultaneous to the investment by the government of Quebec, Bombardier announced that they would write-down $3.2 billion in development costs, an action that would allow them to “accelerate returns from sales of the narrowbody airliner” series.

Less than two years after it was announced that the government of Quebec would take an equity stake in the C Series program, Bombardier disclosed that Airbus would acquire a majority stake in the CSALP. According to the company’s press release that announced the partnership, “[u]nder the agreement, Airbus will provide procurement, sales and marketing, and customer support expertise to the [CSALP],” with that latter entity continuing to manufacture the airplanes in Quebec. The transaction which created the partnership, which closed on July 1, 2018, resulted in Airbus owning a 50.01% stake in the CSALP, while Bombardier and Investissement Quebec owned “approximately 34% and 16%, respectively.” Following the closing, the “head office, primary assembly line and related functions” will remain in Mirabel, Quebec, while another final assembly line was established at Airbus’ manufacturing facilities in Mobile, Alabama. Less than two weeks after the transfer of program ownership to Airbus, the European manufacturer introduced new commercial designations for the CS100 and CS300, renaming them the A220-100 and A220-300, respectively. The first A220 airframe to wear Airbus’ corporate colors—a -300—was unveiled at company’s delivery center in Toulouse on the same day, July 10, 2018. The BD-500 type certificate has been held by three companies, with Bombardier and CSALP holding it prior to the current holder, Airbus Canada Limited Partnership.

On Feb. 12, 2020, Bombardier announced that it had “transfer[red] its remaining interest in [the] Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada) to Airbus and the [g]overnment of Quebec,” making those latter entities the sole owners of the BD-500 type certificate holder. According to the European manufacturer, following the sale of Bombardier’s remaining share in the program, 75% of Airbus Canada is held by Airbus, with the remaining 25% held by the government of Quebec.

A220 Variant

Transport Canada Certification Date

 A220-100 (BD-500-1A10)

Dec. 17, 2015

 A220-300 (BD-500-1A11)

July 8, 2016

Passenger Capacity and Cabin Dimensions

According to the Transport Canada Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) for the BD-500, the smaller A220-100 is certified to a maximum passenger capacity of 127, while the larger -300 increases that limitation to 145 passengers. Despite those certified capacities, Airbus states that the typical two-class seating configuration of the A220-100 is 100-120, a range that the -300 increases to 120-150. Promoted for its “broad seats,” the size of the windows and the amount of overhead storage, A220-100 passengers are accommodated in a cabin that has a length of 77 ft.  10 in. and a maximum width of 10 ft. 9 in. On the -300, the cabin length is extended to 90 ft. 1 in., while the maximum width remains the same as on the -100.

Another aspect of the cabin that is marketed as improving the passenger experience are the low noise levels that allow for a cabin that, according to Airbus, is both comfortable and quiet. From an operator perspective, the company states that both variants of the airframe have configurable cabins that incorporate a pair of “flex zones [that] allow operators to benefit from fully customizable modular cabin elements,” with the location of elements such as partitions and storage space being according to the requirements of a given operator. The A220’s cabin management system is noted as providing crews with the ability to control cabin lighting and passenger entertainment, with the cabin featuring “full-color LED [light-emitting diode] ambient lighting [that] enhances passenger well-being and creates opportunities to reinforce the airline’s brand.” Additionally, the airframe’s overhead compartments are noted as having space for each passenger to store a single roller bag.


Flight crews operate the A220 series using Collins Aerospace’s Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system, which “made its airline debut” when Swiss International Air Lines placed the A220-100 into service in July 2016. According to the avionics manufacturer, the primary hardware components of the A220’s Pro Line Fusion installation include five 15.1-in. high-resolution liquid crystal displays (LCD), with other features including an airport moving map that is integrated, “comprehensive systems integration” and graphical flight planning. Additional Collins Aerospace hardware that is incorporated into the A220’s avionics includes dual head-up displays (HUD), the company’s Primary Flight Control Computer (PFCC) and MultiScan weather radar that has “predictive windshear” technology. The PFCC was described by Collins as “execut[ing] complex aircraft control laws to provide an enabling platform that optimizes aircraft fuel efficiency, improves passenger safety and enhances overall passenger comfort.” From an environmental perspective, the technology incorporated into the PFCC also furthers the environmental friendliness of A220 operation, with the manufacturer specifically noting its contributions to carbon and noise emissions. Finally, the commonality of the avionics found in the A220-100 and -300 meant that flight crews need only a single type rating for both variants. The fact that both variants of the BD-500 have the Same Type Rating—which Bombardier announced on Nov. 23, 2016, had been received from Transport Canada and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)—is noted as providing operators with cost and training benefits.                                                                                                                      

Mission and Performance

Airbus states that the A220-100 is “the smallest jetliner in [its] product line,” while also being purpose-built—from a passenger comfort and efficiency standpoint—“to serve the 100-135-seat market.” The A220-300 is promoted in a similar way, with it described by the airframe manufacturer as being meant to serve “the 120-160-seat market” and having economics that are touted as being the best in the airframe’s class.

Despite the differences in size, weight, range and passenger capacity, both of the A220-series airframes share a number of common performance limitations, including a maximum operating limit speed (MMO) of 0.82 Mach above 27,500 ft. Also shared by the variants of the BD-500 type are the maximum operating altitudes while en route (41,000 ft.), as well as during takeoff and landing (8,000 ft.) In contrast to those common performance limitations, the published ranges of the A220 variants differ by 50 nm, with the -100 and -300 capable of ranges of 3,450 nm and 3,400 nm, respectively. Supplementing that range is the fact that the -100 has airfield performance that is described by Airbus as being the “best in class,” with the A220 variants further marketed as being “ideal” for operations at high-altitude and hot-temperature airports, as well as those which are located in the city center. Specific to city-center airports, the -100 is described as being the “largest” airframe that has the capability to operate at London City Airport.


A220 (C Series) Specifications

Type Designation



Commercial Designation

A220-100 (CS100)

A220-300 (CS300)

Maximum Passenger Capacity



Range (nm)



Engines (2x)

Pratt & Whitney






Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)



Maximum Landing Weight (lb.)




115 ft. 1 in.


114 ft. 9 in.

127 ft.


38 ft. 8 in.


PW1500G Engines

The PW1500G variants certified to power the BD-500 type began testing in September 2010, with the first variant—a PW1524G—making its maiden flight on Pratt & Whitney’s 747SP flying testbed on June 20, 2011. Subsequently, the first three variants—the PW1519G, PW1521G and PW1524G—were certified by Transport Canada on Feb. 20, 2013. In addition to the engines certified to power BD-500 variants—the PW1519G, PW1521GA, PW1521G-3, PW1524G and PW1524G-3—and the previously mentioned PW1521G, Pratt & Whitney has also developed and certified the PW1525G and PW1525G-3.

According to the FAA TCDS for the PW1500G, the engines of the series include reduced-thrust variants for the -100 (PW1519G and PW1521G) and -300 (PW1521G-3), reduced- and alternate-climb-thrust models for the -100 (PW1521GA and PW1525G, respectively) and -300—the PW1525G-3 is defined as only being an alternate-climb-thrust model—and the basic models for the -100 (PW1524G) and -300 (PW1524G-3). Pratt & Whitney promotes the PW1500G engines as decreasing fuel consumption by “double digits,” while nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions and the “noise footprint” are reduced by “up to” 50% and 75%, respectively, with that former figure being in reference to the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection’s CAEP/6 standard. Other specifications of PW1500G include a 73-in. fan diameter and a bypass ratio of 12:1, with the FAA TCDS further describing the currently certified variants as being a “high-bypass-ratio, axial-flow, dual-spool turbofan engine.” The engine’s low-pressure compressor and high-bypass-ratio fan—which have three and one stages, respectively—are “directly drive[n]” by a low-pressure turbine that has three stages “through a fan-drive gear-speed reduction system,” with those components comprising the engine’s low-speed spool. Similarly, the cooled high-pressure turbine—which has two stages—drives the eight-stage high-pressure compressor, while engine control is provided by a full-authority digital engine control (FADEC) system.

A220-100 (Formerly CS100)

In addition to the 18-passenger decrease in certified capacity, the BD-500-1A10-based A220-100 also has an MTOW that is 15,000 lb. less than the larger -300. The water volume of the -100’s cargo space is 839 ft.3, while the airframe’s maximum fuel capacity is noted as being 5,760 gal. According to the FAA TCDS, the forward and aft cargo compartments are capable of maximum loadings of 3,742 lb. and 4,548 lb., respectively.

A220-300 (Formerly CS100)

Increased on the BD-500-1A11-based A220-300 were the MTOW, cargo volume and maximum loading and maximum fuel capacity, the latter of which is 5,681 gal. Airbus notes that the water volume of the -300’s cargo space is 1,118 ft.3, with the forward cargo compartment having a maximum loading of 5,393 lb. and the aft cargo compartment increasing that figure to 5,746 lb.

Airframe Commonality

In spite of the differences noted above, Airbus promotes the A220-series airframes as having a significant amount of commonality, a feature that is touted as being a benefit to operators. For instance, in addition to being equipped with variants of the same Pratt & Whitney engine series, Airbus states that “both members of the A220 family share commonality in more than 99% of the line-replaceable units (LRU),” a characteristic that is marketed as providing operators of both A220 variants with substantial “cost savings.”

Environmental Performance

As was previously stated, the A220 series is marketed as having improved environmental performance, including reductions in both carbon and noise emissions. One way in which the former type of emissions is reduced is through the use of “advanced materials”—including composites—with Airbus noting that such materials are used in the empennage, rear fuselage and wings. The benefits of using those materials include improved efficiency and maintainability, which is the result of the resistance to corrosion and decreased weight found with those materials. The decrease in weight and the corresponding reduction in the airframe’s fuel burn—which also decreases carbon dioxide (CO2) and NOX emissions—are the result of 40% of the A220’s “primary structure” being made of “modern materials,” according to Airbus. Beyond the environmental improvements that are promoted by Pratt & Whitney for the PW1500G engines, Airbus also markets the A220 as having NOX emissions that are 50% below “industry standards.” Further described as being the cleanest and quietest airframe in its category, Airbus states that the A220 burns 25% less fuel than prior-generation airframes and has a noise footprint that is 50% lower.

Program Status/Operators

Regardless of the commercial designation—CS100/CS300 or A220-100/-300—all airframes are produced at Bombardier’s former facilities at Mirabel airport in Quebec and Airbus’ facilities at Mobile Downtown Airport. While production is now divided between those facilities, all flight-test airframes for both the -100 and -300 variants were produced and made first flights from Mirabel. At the time Airbus announced that its partnership with Bombardier and Investissement Quebec had received regulatory approval, they also stated that demand would support the Mobile final assembly line which would build airplanes for “U.S.-based customers,” including Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines—which announced on April 28, 2016, that it had placed an order for 75 A220-100s—as well as New York-based JetBlue Airways. That latter operator signed a memorandum of understanding for 60 A220-300s on July 10, 2018, airplanes that are intended to replace the carrier’s fleet of Embraer 190s. Because delivery of Delta’s A220s began in 2018, its first airframe was delivered from Mirabel, with the company taking delivery of a -100 registered as N101DU—which made its first flight on Oct. 6, 2018—at Mirabel on Oct. 26, 2018. Delta subsequently placed the type into service between New York LaGuardia and Boston and Dallas-Fort Worth International on Feb. 7, 2019. Approximately 14 months after Delta received their first A220 from Mirabel, Airbus announced on Dec. 20, 2019, that Air Canada had taken delivery of its first example of a type, a -300 registered as C-GROV that represented the first of 45 A220 airframes on order by the company at the time.

Construction of the Mobile final assembly line (FAL) began in January 2019, with A220 production at that facility commencing in August 2019 and Airbus announced the opening of the A220 FAL in Mobile on May 19, 2020, a “270,000-ft.2 facility which can produce both the -100 and -300” variants. The first Mobile-produced A220—a -300 for Delta registered as N302DU that also represented the first A220-300 for the airline—made its first flight in June 2020 and was subsequently delivered on Oct. 22, 2020. Other operators that have received A220 deliveries from Mobile include JetBlue, an operator whose first A220—a -300 registered as N3008J—made its first flight on Dec. 9, 2020. The company took delivery of that airframe, the first of 70 it had on order at the time, on Dec. 31, 2020. At the time of that delivery, JetBlue stated that the A220 would have 30% lower operating costs, on a per-seat basis, than its E190s. Also in comparison to those Embraer jets, the company said that per-seat fuel burn and maintenance costs would be 40% less. Following its delivery to JetBlue, the company placed N3008J into service between Boston and Tampa on April 26, 2021.

For both the A220-100 and -300, the airframes used in the respective flight-test programs were designated as FTV, with five such airplanes used in the flight-test campaign of the -100. Subsequent to the first flight of A220-100 FTV1, the second flight-test airframe—FTV2, registered as C-GWYD—made its first flight on Jan. 3, 2014, while FTV3 (registered as C-GWXJ) flew approximately two months later on March 3, 2014. Registered as C-GWXK, FTV4 made its first flight on May 18, 2014, while the fifth and final flight-test airframe—FTV5, registered as C-GWXZ—flew for the first time on March 18, 2015.  In contrast to the five flight-test airframes used for the A220 test program, the -300 required only two flight-test airframes, FTV7 and FTV8. The first of those airframes—FTV7, registered as C-FFDK— performed its first flight on Feb. 27, 2015, a flight that originated from Mirabel and lasted 4 hr. 58 min. Following the first flight of FTV7, the first flight of FTV8—registered as C-FFDO—took place on March 3, 2016.


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