Airbus in the midst of an Asia-Pacific promotional tour for the A220, which it says is ideal for carriers aiming to operate new regional routes.
The airframer is conducting the tour with an Air Baltic A220-300 (YL-ABH) with stops in Sydney, Singapore, and Hanoi. The Air Baltic jet is equipped with 145 economy class seats.
Speaking with reporters in Singapore, Airbus marketing executive Souren Agopian highlighted the A220’s ability to operate from relatively short runways as compared with larger narrowbodies.
In the Asia-Pacific context, this makes the A220 – sized between regional jets and larger narrowbodies such as the A320 – suitable for pioneering new routes to secondary destinations.
Highlighting the type’s ability to operate from smaller airports, Airbus conducted the Singapore demonstration flights not from the country’s international hub, Changi Airport, but from the country’s smaller airport at Seletar, which mainly serves business jets.
Regional jets and smaller narrowbodies have largely failed to penetrate the Asia-Pacific, with airlines trending towards larger narrowbodies. Bigger jets, they feel, allow them to take better advantage of limited slots at congested airports.
The A220-100 can seat between 100-130 passengers, and the A220-300 between 130-160.
Airbus declined to comment on customer discussions, but FlightGlobal understands that a few airlines in the region could be interested in an A220-sized aircraft.
Bangkok Airways has a long-running requirements to replace its A319s for operations into the resort island of Koh Samui. Other carriers in the region that could potentially look at the A220 are Malaysia Airlines/Firefly, and Vietnam Airlines.
So far, the only Asia-Pacific carrier that operates the A220 is Korean Air, with 10 examples. In addition, on 2 May Qantas firmed up orders for 20 A220s and 20 A321XLRs to recapitalise its domestic and short-haul fleet, and Air Vanuatu has orders for three — two A220-100s and one A220-300.