In 2016 Delta Air Lines ordered a plane called the Bombardier C Series. In October of 2017, Bombardier sold a controlling stake of the plane to Airbus and they rebranded the program as the A220. Since development of the plane began, the C Series was plagued by higher than expected development costs, an un-contained engine failure during testing, and slower than expected sales. On top of development issues, the plane was also a point of contention between Boeing, the United States government and Canada. Boeing accused Bombardier of selling the plane at a loss that was subsidized by the Canadian government, leading to an unfair advantage. The United States government stepped in and issued a 292% tariff on the plane. Delta said it would not pay for the tariff and after some talk on both side the tariff was dropped. Despite all the issues the plane has been hailed for its excellent operational performance and enhanced passenger comfort.
Today Delta Air Lines showed off its very first of 75 A220 aircraft. The A220-100 registered N101DU was built in the Bombardier Montreal facility. Airbus is in the process of opening a second assembly line at its own Alabama facility which should be ready in 2020. The very first commercial flight is set for January 31, 2019. The plane will begin with routes from New York (LGA) to Boston (BOS) and Dallas (DFW). Delta is primarily launching the plane out of New York to start. Following the launch, the plane should begin operating the following high density business routes:
- New York LGA to Boston as of January 2019
- New York LGA to Dallas as of January 2019
- Detroit to Dallas as of March 2019
- New York LGA to Houston as of April 2019
- Salt Lake City to Dallas as of May 2019
- Minneapolis to Dallas as of June 2019
- Houston to Detroit and Minneapolis as of July 2019
- Houston to Salt Lake City as of July 2019
- New York JFK to Dallas as of August 2019
The plane is configured with 109 seats produced by Rockwell Collins. The plane is intended to take over some regional flying from the CRJ-900 and replace service on some of the older MD-88, MD-90’s and Boing 717 as demand continues to grow and planes get retired. All seats have access to high-powered USB ports, a minimum of 3 power ports per row and have the latest wireless Hitachi in-flight entertainment (IFE) system mounted in seat backs. The first class cabin is set up in a 2-2 configuration and in a 3-2 configuration behind that. The plane also features 2Ku Wi-Fi (separate from the wireless entertainment) , full-spectrum LED ambient lighting and high-capacity overhead bins.
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