Farnborough order boost for aircraft maker Airbus

America’s Delta Air Lines has firmed up orders for 12 Airbus A220-300 aircraft, bringing Delta’s total firm order for A220s to 107 aircraft – 45 A220-100s and 62 A220-300s. The A220s will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines.

The news was announced at the Farnborough Air Show, the first since 2018 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Airbus employs nearly 5,000 staff at its manufacturing plant at Broughton, near Chester, which makes wings for all the group’s commercial aircraft.

Mahendra Nair, SVP – fleet and techops supply chain at Delta, said: “The A220-300 is economical, efficient and delivers superior performance.

“These additional aircraft in the A220 family are an excellent investment for our customers and employees and will be fundamental as we work toward a more sustainable future for air travel.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International, said: “Delta was the US launch customer for the A220 and it is great to announce this incremental order that demonstrates how satisfied it is with the A220, economically and from a passenger perspective.

“On top of that, the versatility of this aircraft with the long range and short airfield performance makes it a real winner for our customers.”

Delta took delivery of its first Airbus A220 in October 2018, and was the first US carrier to operate the aircraft type. As of the end of June 2022, Delta was operating a fleet of 388 Airbus aircraft, including 56 A220 aircraft, 249 A320 Family aircraft, 57 A330s and 26 A350-900 aircraft.

Airbus and a number of major airlines – Air Canada, Air France-KLM, easyJet, International Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Group, Lufthansa Group and Virgin Atlantic – have also announced they have signed Letters of Intent to explore opportunities for a future supply of carbon removal credits from direct air carbon capture technology.

Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS) is a high-potential technology that involves filtering and removing CO2 emissions directly from the air using high powered fans.

Once removed from the air, the CO2 is safely and permanently stored in geologic reservoirs.

As the aviation industry cannot capture CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere at source, a direct air carbon capture and storage solution would allow the sector to extract the equivalent amount of emissions from its operations directly from atmospheric air.

Carbon removals via direct air capture technology complement other solutions that deliver CO2 reductions, such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), by addressing remaining emissions that cannot be directly eliminated.

“We are already seeing strong interest from airlines to explore affordable and scalable carbon removals,” said Julie Kitcher, executive vice president communications and corporate affairs, Airbus.

“These first letters of intent mark a concrete step towards the use of this promising technology for both Airbus’s own decarbonisation plan and the aviation sector’s ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon removal is required to help the world go beyond climate mitigation and to support the achievement of net-zero targets. In addition, according to the Air Transport Action Group’s (ATAG) Waypoint 2050 report, offsets – mainly in the form of carbon removals – will be needed to make up any remaining shortfalls in emissions above the goal.