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Airbus-A220-300 (image: Airbus)

New airline makes huge A220 order

The aircraft type is the right plane in a variety of ways for a new venture by aviation entrepreneur David Neeleman.

The latest airline venture from aviation entrepreneur David Neeleman, provisionally named Moxy, has signed a fixed order for 60 A220-300 aircraft, while JetBlue – which Neeleman founded 20 years ago and is the seventh largest carrier in the US by passengers flown – has placed firm orders for another 60 of the aircraft type.

The choice of plane in the orders, which were completed at the end of December, will give the carriers flexibility to cover under-served regional markets and launch new low-cost short-haul shuttle services.

Airbus says it will produce the 120 A220s at a new assembly facility in the US to break ground later this month, located next to an existing Airbus facility in Mobile, Alabama.

The plans for Moxy – a project name that collides with Marriott’s Moxy Hotels – were revealed at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK last July.

Neeleman defines the Moxy brand’s positioning as high tech, and as a high-tech aircraft the A220 – formerly the Bombardier C-Series 300 – fits the bill, the business magazine Forbes reports.

City pairs
Moxy could create profitable new city pairs in underserved regional and short to medium-haul markets, in the US and beyond, possibly to Europe, as well as new frequent shuttle services between cities with high business-passenger demand.

Flying on an A220-300, which is designed for the 100-150 seat market, is a similar experience to being on an A350 XWB or a Boeing Dreamliner but for shorter distances of up to 3200 nm (5020 kilometres).

The A220 has Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines, which claim to have 20% lower fuel burn than previous-generation planes.

“The A220-300 is the right airplane for a new airline that will be focused on passenger service and satisfaction,” says Neeleman.

“With a low cost of operation and spacious cabin, the A220 will allow us to provide passengers with lower fares and a high quality, comfortable flying experience. The A220’s ability to operate profitably in thin, underserved markets across a broad spectrum of ranges is unique”.

Delivery deadlines
A sum for the deal has not been released. Each aircraft has a list price of $91.5 million, making the total order from the two airlines up to $11 billion, but a considerable discount is likely.

The first five planes will be delivered to JetBlue in 2020, with 2023 and 2024 as the biggest delivery years, before ending with the final two planes in 2025.

With the 120 aircraft, Airbus now has a total of 522 A220 orders divided by 399 A220-300s and 123 A220-100s. So far, 49 have been delivered in this series, of which SWISS accounts for 25, while airBaltic and Korean Air have 14 and eight, respectively.

In addition, one has been delivered each to Air Tanzania and to Delta Air Lines, the latter of which is expected to become the world’s largest A220 operator with an order of 75 A220-100s. The biggest European customer is initially expected to be airBaltic, which has ordered up to 60 aircraft in the A220-300 variant.

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