Orders boost for aircraft manufacturer’s wing-making plant

Air Canada

Aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, has announced orders for more than 50 new planes, in a boost its wing-making plant at Broughton, near Chester, which employs around 5,000 staff.

International Airlines Group (IAG) has confirmed an order for 37 additional A320neo aircraft, following shareholder approval.

And Air Canada has confirmed an order for 15 more A220-300 planes.

The latest IAG order follows earlier agreements for 22 A320neo family (17 A320neos, 5 A321neos) aeroplanes announced in March and June 2022, taking the total for the year to 59 single aisle aircraft.

Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International, said: “IAG operates Airbus aircraft extensively in its fleet, making it one of the largest Airbus customers globally.

“These latest generation aircraft will be key in IAG’s stated environmental mission to operate the world’s most fuel efficient planes.”

The A320neo family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which, together, deliver at least 20% fuel saving. With more than 8,500 orders from more than 130 customers, the A320neo family is the world’s most popular aircraft.

Air Canada’s latest order brings the Canadian flag carrier’s total firm order from an initial 45 to 60 aircraft.

The airline started its A220 service in January 2020 and currently operates more than 30 A220s on transcontinental routes in Canada, as well as to the U.S. and to Latin America.

Mark Galardo, senior vice president, network planning and revenue management at Air Canada, said: “The A220 has become an important component in the modernisation of Air Canada’s fleet and a key part of our narrowbody fleet, thanks to its performance and passenger comfort.

“Our customers truly enjoy the benefits of the A220, from its quieter cabin, larger overhead bins and comfortable seating. The A220 is the perfect aircraft for our North American network thanks to its economics, and its fuel efficiency also supports Air Canada’s commitment to reduce emissions on the way to its goal of net zero emissions from all global operations by 2050.”

Christian Scherer said: “We are honoured that Air Canada is coming back for more A220s.

“This demonstrates the value the aircraft is bringing and we are proud to provide our customer with a high level of flexibility, great economics and a real passenger-appeal.”

He added: “With already over 30 aircraft in service with the airline, the A220 has established itself as an efficient route-opener, as well as mainline workhorse, strengthening the carriers’ continental network while delivering on Air Canada’s ambitious decarbonisation targets. We thank Air Canada for their continued trust in Airbus.”

Air Canada operates a fleet of more than 125 Airbus aircraft, including 78 A320 family aircraft, 16 A330 family aircraft and 31 A220-300 aircraft. Air Canada also has a direct order for 10 A321 XLRs.

The airline took delivery of its first Airbus A220-300 in December 2019, and was the first airline to operate this model in North America. Born from a clean-sheet design, the A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market, bringing together innovative design features, state-of-the-art aerodynamics and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation GTF engines.

To date, more than 220 A220s have been delivered to 16 airlines operating on four continents and connecting more than 70 million people across the globe. The fleet is currently flying on around 800 routes and 325 destinations worldwide.

As of the end of September 2022, more than 25 customers had ordered in excess of 770 A220 aircraft, confirming its strong position in the small single-aisle market.