Boost for Northern Ireland as US airline orders 60 A220 jets
Wings made in Belfast in deal worth £4bn
Airbus has confirmed the first major order for its new A220 aircraft since it took a majority stake in Bombardier’s previously named C Series jets.
US-based JetBlue has ordered 60 A220-300 planes in a deal worth up to $5.37bn (£4.05bn).
The announcement of a signed memorandum of understanding after the close of US markets on Tuesday night came just hours after Airbus unveiled the new name of the C Series at its Toulouse headquarters.
Assembly will take place in the Airbus factory in Mobile, Alabama, but the wings will be manufactured at Bombardier’s Belfast plant, where around 1,000 workers are involved in the project.
The Canadian aerospace firm continues to own 34% of the A220.
Starting in 2020, the deal will see JetBlue take delivery of 60 A220-300 jets up to 2025, with the option of taking another 60.
The US airline also has the option of switching some of the initial order to the smaller A220-100. The A220-300 seats between 135-160 passengers, while the smaller version seats 106-130.
Significantly, Jet Blue are buying the Airbus/Bombardier jets to replace its current fleet of Embraer planes.
It comes just one week after Boeing announced a major deal with Brazilian based Embraer, which has been perceived as an attempt to take on Airbus in the market for 100-150 seater jets.
In a further boost to Airbus, Jet Blue has converted an existing order for 25 A320neo aircraft to the newer A321neo.
“We are evolving our fleet for the future of JetBlue, and the A220-300’s impressive range and economics offer us flexibility and support our key financial and operating priorities,” said Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue
“JetBlue’s selection of the A220 aircraft as a complement to its growing A320 Family fleet is a tremendous endorsement – both of the A220 itself and of the way these two aircraft can work together to provide airline network flexibility and a great passenger experience,” remarked Eric Schulz, Chief Commercial Officer for Airbus.
Belfast Telegraph Digital