Airbus A-220 is different from other Airbus aircraft, says Connor Buott

Ashwini Phadnis | Updated on November 12, 2019

Connor Buott, Single Aisle Product Marketing Senior Analyst, Customer Affairs

Airbus A-220 completes its world tour and to head back to Riga

Pointing out that Airbus does see “high interest” for its A-220 aircraft in India, Connor Buott, Single Aisle Product Marketing Senior Analyst, Customer Affairs talked to BusinessLine as the aircraft flew from Bengaluru to Delhi on the last stop of its world tour before heading back to Riga. Airbus estimates demand for about 2,000 single aisle aircraft in India over the next 20 years. Edited excerpts:

Airbus has been sourcing a lot from India like HAL makes doors for the Airbus A-320. What about the Airbus A-220?

To the best of my knowledge we do not have any major components coming from India. Our main manufacturing facility is in Montreal so a lot of components are manufactured there. We also have final assembly in Alabama. A large part of the major assembly comes from Europe including the wings. We have some fuselage sections coming from China.

None of the components on board are from India right now?

None, out of the major systems that I am aware of. There might be some minor systems but I will have to look at the details.

This is the first time that the Airbus group has moved from naming its aircraft from 3 to 2. What prompted this move?

The Airbus A-220 is the new kid on the block, a new aircraft. It has only been about a year since Airbus has had this aircraft in its portfolio. It is being marketed quite aggressively around the world. We have done three demonstration tours and two more are planned in the near future.

You had mentioned that this aircraft can open up new airports. Can we get a sense of how many new airports?

I cannot speak of how many. Any airstrip that is longer than 1,200 metres is a great opportunity for the A-220 family of aircraft.

Can you give us some idea of who all in India are interested in this aircraft?

We cannot reveal the names of who all visited the aircraft. But this is the first country where we are making two stops as part of the demonstration tour in Asia.

Now that you have two production facilities for this aircraft, how long will it be before some airline from India signs for this aircraft and gets the delivery?

We have delivery positions that are open as early as 18 to 20 months.

But that is true of most aircraft?

That is correct. Although on the Airbus A-320 family they are sold out till 2025-26. The Airbus A-220 has a few near term slots which are about 18 to 20 months.

When you talk about fly-by-wire is there cockpit crew commonality so that those flying other Airbus aircraft can also fly this aircraft?

No. The Airbus A-220 is different from the rest of the Airbus aircraft; it has a different type rating. However, the new technology especially in the cockpit simplifies pilot training as well as reducing the transition time down to 19 days for a full type rating for the A-220.

So someone flying the Airbus A-319 will have to go through 19 days of conversion training to fly this aircraft?

It is not conversion training. It is a full type rating. This is not the same type as other Airbus aircraft and we do not currently have a plan to harmonise them. They were designed by different manufacturers so there are some limitations in terms of what we can do for commonality.

Bombardier was not very successful in this market. What do you think has changed in the Indian market that you will be successful?

One big driver is a lot more start-up airlines. Based on the events that have happened in India, thanks to recent growth, there is a demand not only for replacing regional aircraft and either supplementing or complementing the Airbus 320 family of aircraft. But there is also demand for a new aircraft today. Airbus is already at a very high production capability but we are still seeing a high degree of demand that we are not able to meet solely with the A-320 family. Adding the A-220 family to the mix gives operators a new option of an aircraft type and in terms of the capabilities of this aircraft that it can operate out of smaller airports than the A-320 family. Besides it can fly the same mission length as the A-321.

Published on November 12, 2019

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