Focusing on innovation and sustainability at the Istanbul Airshow, Airbus exhibited the single-aisle A220-300 Aircraft of airBaltic Airlines, which will begin flights from Istanbul to destinations abroad in April 2023, and the single-engine H130 Helicopter, a product of Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH), operated by Mavi Air service. The H130 was previously offered for the Turkish Land Forces' Training Helicopter Tender.
Mavi Air has signed a contract with Airbus Corporate Helicopters to purchase 6 ACH130s (4 firm orders and 2 optional) during the Istanbul Airshow. Mavi Air will use the ACH130 helicopters to provide short flights between airports and selected hotels and sightseeing flights. The ACH130s will join the only operational H130 already in Mavi Air's fleet and help boost the company's operations in the Istanbul region. Airbus exhibited scale models of its new long-range wide-body twin-engine jet aircraft, the A350-1000, the A3300 MRTT, which the Turkish Air Force is also interested in as part of its new generation tanker aircraft, the H130 Helicopter and the turboprop regional aircraft ATR72-600 at its booth in the indoor Exhibition Hall C1.
On October 6, the "Decarbonizing the Aviation Industry" panel was held at the fair, bringing different perspectives to the issue of sustainability in aviation and encouraging open dialogue between the audience and the panelists. At the panel, Airbus Vice President Marketing and Sales for Northern Europe Wouter Van Wersch also shared his predictions about Airbus' sustainability roadmap. On October 7, 2022, the Head of Single-Aisle Market Development at Airbus, Claude Debeauquenne, gave a special press briefing together with airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss on the single-aisle A220 Aircraft. Later, he gave a tour of the Airbus A220 aircraft, which was exhibited in the static area, and answered the questions of the press members following the event.
The single-aisle A220 Family is designed to feel like a wide-bodied airplane. The cabin, equipped with the widest windows in its class, provides passengers with a comfortable flight experience by providing 18+ inches of comfortable seats and generous personal space. Standing out with its 25% lower fuel consumption and 50% lower noise level compared to other aircraft in its class, the A220 Family offers an ideal solution, especially for urban operations and airports with noise-related restrictions.
In the meantime, Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ) signed three new collaboration agreements with Airbus in July 2022. The contract covers the production of the barrier wall of the A350F, the rear fuselage Section 18/19 of the A320 series, as well as the mid-lower fuselage panels of the A220 series. In this context, TUSAŞ will design, manufacture and be the "Single Source Supplier" of barrier walls throughout the entire program for the A350F platform, one of the newest platforms of wide-body cargo aircraft that will shape the future of air transportation from 2024. Under the agreement, TAI will also be responsible for 50% of the production and assembly of sections 18/19 of the Airbus A320 single-aisle series and will produce and deliver the mid-lower fuselage panels of the A220 series as the "Single Source Supplier" as of 2023. Providing thousands of parts and components to Airbus platforms for more than 20 years, Turkish Aerospace's fuselage/component manufacturing projects include A350XWB fins, A330 rudder, and A320 section 18/19 parts.
A220 Product Briefing
On October 7, 2022, Claude Debeauquenne, Head of Single-Aisle Market Development delivered a comprehensive briefing on A220 to the media representatives attended at İstanbul Airshow 2022.
In summary Debeauquenne shared following information at his presentation:
“I am very pleased to be here today in front of you at İstanbul Airshow, this year we are showcasing our latest new generation single aisle aircraft, the Airbus A220 in collaboration with our customer airBaltic.
Before giving a little update on where we are in the program, I just want to give a quick reminder about the A220 Family. Typically in the market we have large single aisle, small single aisle and regional aircraft. The large single aisle aircraft typically starting at 150 seats and then we have regional jets, typically with 100 seats and below, and this is (small single aisle) where the A220 fits into. A220 Family fills the gap between large single aisles and regional aircraft. Airbus is now the only aircraft manufacturer that can provide the full market coverage for airlines. As the only clean-sheet single aisle aircraft right sized for the 100 to 150 seat market the A220 Family complements the A320 Family.
Featuring the all-new efficient design the Airbus A220 is a family of two different variants; the A220-100 that seats between 100-120 seats, and the A220-300 (has 3.7m longer mid fuselage compared to A220-100) that seats between 120-150 seats. This is obviously a family concept with full commonality across the two variants. And the two variants will provide a step change in efficiency with 25% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft and offers 32% lower trip fuel cost compared to Boeing 737-800 and A320. How did we achieve this? It’s due to the new generation nature of the aircraft with state-of-the-art efficient aerodynamics, new PW1500G engines, and with advanced materials, up to 40% of the aircraft using advanced material that reducing the weight. Flying up to 3,450nm (6,390km) the A220 provides maximum operational flexibility to the airline operators. In addition to its 50% less noise footprint the A220 also has got very good take-off and landing performance, and this makes the A220 the largest aircraft that is operating out of London city, which is a very constrained airport in terms of noise, in terms of runway length and the A220 is the biggest aircraft certified at London city today.
As of now we have an order book of 774 firm orders for the Airbus A220, we’ve delivered roughly 220 aircraft to our customers so that leaves us roughly 550 aircraft yet to be delivered. With 774 firm orders, this puts the Airbus A220 in a very strong position in the marketplace. With roughly 60% market share, compared to the competition on this market segment.
We also have a very diverse customer base with more than 25 customers as of now coming from every different business sector... We are obviously ready to meet this market demand with the very aggressive and a very steep production ramp-up plan that we have going from where we are today with 6 aircraft being delivered every month, going to 14 aircraft (10 at Mirabel and 4 at Mobile FAL) to be delivered every month by 2025. So, for this we have implemented a second final assembly line (FAL) in Mobile in the US in addition to the existing assembly line that we already had in Montreal (Mirabel), Canada.
2022 has been a very good year for the A220 so far. We are very happy with where we are. We have attracted more than 100 firm orders already today and there’s more to come. We had renewals from existing customers such as Delta and Jet Blue. We’ve delivered a few months ago the 220th Airbus A220, and last month the new service fleet of the A220 has reached an important milestone, it has reached a million, one million flight hours already today since the first flight in 2016. What does that mean for the industry? One million flight hours directly translates into over 1.4 million of C02 savings. How did we achieve this very impressive figure? Its directly related to the new generation nature of the aircraft, with 25% lower fuel burn compared to the previous generation aircraft, which also means 25% lower C02 emissions and this is very important. That makes the Airbus A220 the greenest aircraft in the skies today. And so, we all know why the aircraft was selected by one of the greenest airlines in Europe, airBaltic, which makes its sustainability at the heart of its company’s core values.
One of the key success factors of the Airbus A220 is its range capability. The aircraft provides benefits to airlines, the flexibility to operate short in regional sectors all the way up to long range missions. So typically, from İstanbul the Airbus A220 can cover all of Europe, obviously, can cover all of the Middle East, where you can even fly over to India to cities like New Delhi or down to Nigeria in Africa. And those sectors can be operated from airlines as a lowest risk option. So, this is where it becomes very interesting for airlines to use these aircraft as a tool to open new routes at the lowest risk possible.
Another key success factor of the Airbus A220 is the comfort and this is something that you will be able to experience onboard this beautiful airBaltic A220, just after this briefing so if you would like to stay with us once we’re done with the briefing we can walk together and experience the cabin on board, and essentially what you will see is a very spacious cabin providing similar comfort level as a passenger that you would expect with a wide body aircraft. That means very wide seats, very, extremely large windows (the biggest windows on any single aisle aircraft, even bigger than the ones on 777, since the A220 is a clean sheet design aircraft every row has at least one window), very large overhead compartments, connectivity aspect with all the modern amenities as you would expect as a passenger.
Airbus also offers a comprehensive service support package AFHS, that stands for Airbus Flight Hour Services and essentially enables airlines to help them to start operations for the Airbus A220. And today it is very successful as a support package with over 40% of the in-service A220 fleet that operates with this support package provided by Airbus…”
Later on, CEO Martin GAUSS came to the floor and in summary said the following:
“Thank you, it is a pleasure to be here in İstanbul, and to be able to show off our aircraft to many, many, people. We had hundreds and thousands of people going through the aircraft yesterday and today to see the aircraft live.
We were the launch operator for that aircraft type the A220-300 and today we are the largest operator of that type, with 36 of these aircraft in operation. We are also one of the airlines, which is already doing its own heavy maintenance checks on this aircraft because we have already been flying this since the beginning. We had to take some of the aircraft through the longer planned maintenance checks. So, 6 years the aircraft is with us, and if you now say so as an airline, we have already some feedbacks from other customers, our potential customers, could you tell somebody about it, and we have the numbers here.
We have carried 9.6 million passengers just on the Airbus A220s. So, we have at least 6 years we have carried millions of our passengers on the aircraft. We have flown on airBaltic alone 111,000 flights on that aircraft, so we have been all around the world and we are using this aircraft every day. We have today 36 as I said, but we will be getting 3 more this year and then another 10 in the next one and a half years, so we will have 50 firm orders, and we’ve decided that we need many more, and will also be working now to execute options which we have that will take us to 80 aircraft.
Our history, we have all different kinds of aircraft. We had Boeing 737, we had Q400 fleet, and we decided after we used the Airbus A220 because of the success we had with the aircraft that we would change all of our aircraft to the Airbus A220 fleet. We took that decision ahead of schedule and then the COVID came, because then we had the time and had to accelerate the change, and since 2020 the airBaltic flies the Airbus A220, and all of our aircraft come in the same configuration so the aircraft which is here is the same as the aircraft in our fleet…
We also at airBaltic are flying a lot of new routes we will be opening İstanbul as a route from Riga next year in April and what we did now was we looked at this route if we would have flown it with the previous Boeing 737 aircraft with the same seats on board and these are the real numbers if we fly this route on the A220-300 the flight times is 3 minutes less so it’s more or less the same, but the fuel burn is the same, passengers are the same, the same weight, the same conditions, is calculated to be around 1,800kg less and this is on one sector so its similar on the way back. And the fuel savings in today’s fuel price, the cash savings for the airlines only on fuel, there’s other savings, is US$1,974 that’s today’s fuel price but you also have savings because you can fly higher, you fly a bit faster and the aircraft is not as heavy, so there’s much more savings, but that’s a pure cash savings if we fly with that aircraft or would fly with the 737…
And then looking at the seat cost it reduces by 24% and the cost pressure airlines today have is a very significant number and from a commercial point of view of course if you have such an aircraft you would like to fly this because you will be saving cash. The reduction per seat, so that’s statistically from what we had in our fleet, since we have the A220 we are saving up to a certain percent of cost because we had 737-300’s and 737-500’s before, so, pretty impressive and our cost of flying this aircraft has significantly reduced and it was and was part of the success overall.”
Following the briefing the Q&A Session was held and Head of Single-Aisle Market Development Claude Debeauquenne answers questions of media representatives. Answering our question on whether Airbus is in talks with THY on A220, Debeauquenne said, “Well thank you for the question. So, obviously as a leading aircraft manufacturer we are always in discussions with all our customers around the world and Turkish Airlines (THY) is a special customer with us, we have a long-standing relationship for 40 years, so that’s obviously a customer that we always talk to. Now in terms of ongoing discussions that’s not something that we would like to comment on but what I can just tell you we, from our perspective, we see a very good fit the Airbus A220 to Turkish Airlines fit, but that is not something for me to comment on…”