The Airbus A220 is now a real success, with 643 aircraft ordered by ten airlines around the world, including Air France which received the first of the 60 A220s ordered by the national company on Tuesday evening. This success could have turned into an industrial fiasco without the intervention of the Airbus group.
In 2017, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, which built the Cseries, the former name of the A220, was indeed hit hard by the protectionist measures put in place by Donald Trump upon his arrival at the White House. Its idea is to overtax products that can compete directly with American products. However, this is the case with the bombardier, and its Cseries taxed at 79.82%: enough to dissuade American companies from buying this aircraft, which causes a serious financial crisis for the Canadian aircraft manufacturer, associated with the provincial government. of Quebec. But by taking over 50 and then 75% of Quebec’s industrial program, Airbus has truly saved the aircraft and its manufacturer at the same time.
At Airbus headquarters, we do not go into detail, claiming that this aircraft is “the aircraft of ecological transition”. It must be recognized that the figures speak for themselves: the performance of the engines and the weight savings thanks to the use of composite materials allow 25% fuel savings and a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions. while reducing noise by 34%. It is the only aircraft in the world in its class to display this kind of performance.
In addition, it corresponds to the new demands of airlines, who want smaller planes, easier to fill and above all usable for both domestic flights and medium-haul flights. This is the case with the A220, which has an operating range of 6,500 kilometers according to Airbus. But to achieve this ecological transition in the air, companies will have to sign big checks, since the A220 is offered at a list price ranging from 62 to 71 million dollars (even if we know that the secret trade negotiations between manufacturers and companies make it possible to lower prices considerably).
Both on the Bombardier side and on the Airbus side, however, we are not too worried. Claude Debeauquenne, marketing manager for single-aisle planes for the European aircraft manufacturer, explains that the production rate, of five planes per month today, could rise to 14 planes per month by 2025. Enough to meet demand companies and cause surprise among future passengers, who will discover a new configuration in a single-aisle aircraft: 3 seats on one side and 2 on the other, with the added bonus of larger windows placed slightly higher, preventing passengers from bending down to admire the sky, while leaving their smartphone plugged into the USB sockets fitted to each seat.
And the Americans in all of this? The taxes of D. Trump were finally retoquée by the American Commission of the international trade. The latter explains that Boeing was in fact unaffected by Bombardier-Airbus’ competition with the A220.
Better yet, today the A220s destined for the North American market are assembled at the brand new Bombardier plant in Mobile, Alabama, allowing it to evade any new tax on Boeing’s competitors. For its part, the American giant does not offer an aircraft capable of competing with the A220, and moreover is struggling to emerge from the crises affecting its various models (737 Max, 777, 787 Dreamliner).