Reuters reports that Delta is considering up to a dozen more A220-300s and a deal could be announced at Farnborough next week.  This airline and this aircraft have a history of disruption going back to that famous ITC Bombardier dumping hearing.  So what do we know about the A220 at Delta? Delta’s interest in more A220s is because it’s a winner.

Probably the best place to start is fuel burn.  The following chart shows fuel costs as a percentage of total operating costs.  In 2022, the average single-aisle at Delta saw 56.2% of costs in fuel burn.  By comparison, the A220s are substantially lower.  That alone makes this aircraft a winner.  The gap is also substantial. Especially when you look at the 717 and A319, both of which the A220 can replace as the fleet grows. The greener the better in the chart and the real world.

Next, let’s look at the Delta single-aisle fleet operating costs. As the chart illustrates, the A220s are doing well at Delta. They are the airline’s lowest-cost aircraft on an hourly basis. Moreover, the A220-100 is likely their solution to the Scope Clause challenge the network carriers are facing.  

The following chart offers another perspective of Delta’s single-aisle fleet.  This chart lists aircraft from most expensive to least expensive by flight Ops/ASM/Block minute.  Although the A220s are near the top of the list, note their sparkline trends are downward sloping.  The red dot is the “high” for each line.  As the A220 matures at Delta, its numbers are getting better each quarter.

The data suggests that Delta’s decision to select the CSeries that became the A220 was prescient.  The airplane is anecdotally popular with travelers. Plus its economics are living up to what Bombardier promised, and Airbus delivered. Why wouldn’t Delta want more of these aircraft?

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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