The Airbus A 220 300 flies for the first time on July 10, 2018 at the Airbus delivery center in Colomiers, southwestern France. PASCAL PAVANI AFP European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said it had been in close discussions with Chinese airlines, especially small and medium-sized carriers, for possible sales of its 100 to 150 seat, low-emission A 220 aircraft, which are not yet in service in China.
The aircraft model is considered by aviation industry experts as suitable for flights in western China and second-tier cities in eastern China.
The single-aisle A 220 fills the gap between regional aircraft such as the domestically developed jetliner ARJ 21 and single-aisle aircraft such as the A 320 and the Boeing B 737 that are used on both short and long-haul routes.
Airbus said in its single-aisle aircraft family, the A 320 is equipped with 160 to 240 seats. The A 319 neo comes with 130 to 150 seats, and is designed for airports in ultra-high plateau regions. The A 220 is designed for airports in regular plateau areas and plains.
Among all Airbus aircraft models, the A 220 has the highest number of Chinese elements - 15 Chinese suppliers have contributed to its manufacturing, from providing raw materials and components to the assembly of large parts, said Yang Xiaoyu, Airbus' head of flyable procurement in China and East Asia.
We will continue to localize the supply chain and reduce costs for the A 220. This approach can help reduce global transportation logistics and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. ALSO READ: Four Chinese airlines to buy more than 300 Airbus jets.
SAC Commercial Aircraft International Ltd, a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corp of China, is a major supplier of forward fuselages, rear barrel sections, hatch doors, tail cones and mid-fuselage of the A 220.
The A 220 model has received 741 orders from more than 25 customers worldwide, including Delta Air Lines, Air Canada, Air France and Korean Air.
Airbus is working hard to get the airworthiness certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the company said.
The monthly production rate of the A 220 is six aircraft. The company said it has begun preparations to achieve its goal through close cooperation with its local suppliers.
Airbus' annual spending on the commercial aircraft business in China reached $1 billion in the year 2019. The company is going to increase its investments in the country. When A 220reaches its full production rate of 14 aircraft a month, the procurement value associated to the A 220 is expected to account for about 40 percent of the total procurement value of Airbus in China.
Between 2015 and 2025, the government plans to build 136 new airports on the Chinese mainland. Nearly half of them will be built in western China, the CAAC said.
Smaller cities in short-haul domestic markets need more direct flights to connect them, and the A 220 is the type of aircraft suitable for such markets, said Xie Li, a professor at the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China.