The first Airbus A220-100 bound for Delta Air Lines has conducted its maiden flight from Mirabel Airport in Quebec.
Crewed by programme test pilots, the 6 October flight lasted two hours and 53 minutes, says Airbus in a statement.
“The flight took place a few days after the aircraft rolled out of the paint shop,” says Airbus. “Next, the aircraft will continue with pre-delivery testing and assembly, as elements of its state-of-the-art interior come together at the A220 assembly line. Delta’s first A220 is scheduled to begin service in early 2019.”
Delta’s April 2016 commitment for up to 125 Bombardier CS100s - as the type was then designated, prior to Airbus’s 2018 takeover of the programme – was among the most contentious orders in recent years.
The order sparked a bitter protest from Boeing, which claimed that Bombardier, with the help of government subsidies, was dumping the CSeries in the US market. This led to US tariffs on the type that were ultimately struck down by the US International Trade Commission, allowing duty-free imports of CSeries.
Delta will be the first US airline to operate the type. Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that it has firm orders for 75 A220s and options for 50.
Corrected: An earlier version of this story stated that the CSeries will be replace Delta's MD-88s. The MD-88s will, in fact, be replaced by 737-900ERs and A321s.