Delivery of the first aircraft is still a few months away, but Air Canada on August 14 gave a little sneak preview of what to expect when it operates its Airbus A220-300 fleet from Spring 2020. The airline announced that Montreal-Seattle and Toronto-San Jose (California) will be the first two routes on which the type will enter service.
The airline has 45 -300s on firm order with 30 options as part of an agreement with Bombardier signed in June 2016. The CS 300 as it was called then and is now the A220-300 is to replace the 18-strong Embraer E190-fleet, but actually, the Airbus opens up a whole new world to Air Canada.
While the E190 flies 3.540 km in a two-class cabin with 97 seats (9 Business Class, 88 Economy) on regional routes, the A220-300 has a range of 5.926 km with 137 seats (12 Business and 125 Economy). That’s a game-changer indeed, as vice-president of network planning Mark Galardo said, as the Airbus opens up new transcontinental and transborder routes that the Embraer is unable to do.
Seattle has been on the wish-list of Air Canada for some time and the A220 gets the job done out of Montreal. From May 4, the airline offers an early evening departure out of Montreal with a mid-evening arrival in Seattle. The aircraft will stay overnight for an early morning departure from Seattle back to Montreal where passengers will arrive on-time for connections to Europe and North Africa.
San Jose from Toronto is additional to Air Canada’s services out of Vancouver but gets passengers right into the airline’s hub and network, with a round-trip out of Toronto done within 11 hours.
Business Class has a 2×2 configuration. (Air Canada)
The wider fuselage of the A220 gets Air Canada and extra Business Class-seat for free with three rows in a 2×2 configuration versus 1×2 in the E190. Seat width has not been disclosed but should be 20 inches as on the Embraer, which has an 38-inch pitch.
In Economy, the A220 adopts the 2×3 configuration with 19-inch seats, one inch wider than on the E190. Every seat will have Panasonic’s eX-1 inflight entertainment and wifi is standard.
Air Canada expects to have a single A220-300 to have been delivered before the end of the year. In 2020 another 14 are to join the fleet as by December all E190s should have been retired, having served the airline since 2005-2008. The remaining 30 A220s on firm order are delivered until 2022. Together with the Boeing 737 MAX 8 the A220 is the only new type in the narrow-body fleet.