On the coconut wireless this week is talk that a new plane will fly to Hawaii in the near future. You may not yet know of the Airbus A220, but you’ll be hearing more soon enough. This is a plane designed for thin (low density) routes, and could include flights from Long Beach, Orange County and Ontario, just for example. That’s a good thing, and could offer a lot of convenience that might outweigh any potential discomfort. You can be certain that Hawaiian Airlines is looking at these for their future too.
On Monday, the aircraft, with Pratt and Whitney PW1500G turbofan engines, was cleared by the FAA for ETOPS 180. That means it can fly to Hawaii, since ETOPS 180 approval is required for flights to and from the US Mainland.
The single aisle, 140-160 passenger jet, entered service two years ago as the Bombardier C-Series. They have now become part of Airbus and with it came rebranding, as part of a focus on yet smaller (ouch!) narrow-body planes.
Eric Schultz, Airbus chief commercial officer, said: “We trust that this segment could total as many as 7,200 aircraft over the next 20 years–that’s an exciting prospect.”
Comparing Capacity on Airbus A321/Boeing 737 Max 8/Airbus A220.
When viewed against other current/next generation single aisle aircraft, here’s how things size up:
→ Airbus A220 (Delta, JetBlue thus far) seats up to 160 passengers.
→ Airbus A321 (Hawaiian, Alaska, American) seats up to 192 passengers.
→ Boeing 737 Max8 (Alaska, Southwest) seats up to 210 passengers.
Range of A220 Aircraft.
The aircraft is capable of flights up to 7 hours. But how will we feel when spending so many hours in such a small plane?
Comfort onboard A220.
In the end legroom and seat pitch will be up to the airlines. In terms of seat width, we are thus far hearing about an 18″ standard, which, if true, means about an inch more than most other planes. Others offer as little as 17″. We won’t hold our breath in terms of comfort just yet. And we are still not entirely comfortable, physically, flying long distances on single aisle aircraft from any airline or manufacturer. That is unless it is in first class. 😉
A220 orders are coming in.
There are currently 38 A220’s flying globally, with another 424 or more on order. Hawaii wannabee JetBlue just placed a firm order for 60 of these planes with an option for 60 more, with delivery set to begin in 2020. Another airline startup currently named Moxy also just placed a huge order for the new planes. It is owned by JetBlue founder David Neeleman. Previously, Delta ordered 75 of the new planes. The reality is that with so many airlines jumping on the A220 bandwagon, this smallest of long range planes is going to be seen very frequently in Hawaii.