Airbus celebrates US order for 22 planes as production ramps up

Airplane manufacturer Airbus has signed a deal to supply Azorra with 22 A220 family aircraft, including 20 A220-300s and two ACJ TwoTwenty aircraft.

Azorra is a US aircraft lessor, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, focused on executive, regional and mid-size, or crossover, aircraft.

The manufacturer, which employs around 4,500 staff at its wing-making plant at Broughton, near Chester, says its purchase is the latest endorsement for the A220 family aircraft and reaffirms the strong market demand for Airbus’s newest single aisle aircraft.

John Evans, CEO of Azorra, said: “The A220 is ideally suited for Azorra’s growing portfolio. We are excited to partner with Airbus on this popular, next generation aircraft.

“We look forward to offering its superior economics and environmental efficiency to our customers. We are also thrilled with the opportunity to expand Azorra’s executive jet leasing business with the new ACJ TwoTwenty.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International, responded: “We warmly welcome Azorra as a new Airbus partner and salute this decision by a renowned player in the regional aviation space.

“We have seen a significant market appetite for the A220 family from a growing and diverse customer base. The addition of Azorra’s capabilities in the regional airline segment is a welcome endorsement for the A220 versatility.”

He added: “This agreement will enhance Azorra’s portfolio strategy of investing in the most comfortable and modern technology aircraft in this segment, while it will also enable us to offer A220 family solutions to an increasingly wider spectrum of airlines.”

The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market. It offers a 50% reduced noise footprint and up to 25% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation aircraft, as well as around 50% lower NOx emissions than industry standards.

The ACJ TwoTwenty is a new proposition to business aviation buyers, with an intercontinental range to fly more than 12 flight hours.

As of the end of December 2021, the A220 had accumulated 668 orders from 25 customers. To date, 13 airlines are operating around 190 aircraft on four continents.

Airbus revealed that it delivered 611 commercial aircraft to 88 customers in 2021, which it said demonstrated resilience and recovery with progress on ramp-up plans.

Production was seriously impacted in 2020 after most of the world’s airlines were grounded due to border closures following the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 1,500 jobs were lost at Broughton as the industry was put on hold.

Airbus chief executive, Guillaume Faury, said: “Our commercial aircraft achievements in 2021 reflect the focus and resilience of our Airbus teams, customers, suppliers and stakeholders across the globe who pulled together to deliver remarkable results.

“The year saw significant orders from airlines worldwide, signaling confidence in the sustainable growth of air travel post-COVID.”

He added:“While uncertainties remain, we are on track to lift production through 2022 to meet our customers’ requirements. At the same time we are preparing the future of aviation, transforming our industrial capabilities and implementing the roadmap for decarbonisation.”