Travelers looking forward to trying Delta Air Lines’ highly anticipated Airbus A220 may have to wait longer than expected before snagging a seat on the new jet.
That’s because Delta’s planned launch of the A220 by the end of the month is now in jeopardy because of the federal government shutdown.
Speaking on the airline’s earnings conference call Tuesday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Delta’s Airbus A220 start date is “likely to be pushed back’’ due to the shutdown. The shutdown has delayed the Federal Aviation Administration certification Delta needs to begin flying paying passengers on new aircraft.
It’s not just Delta’s A220s that could be delayed.
Delta chief operating officer Gil West said on the same call that certification issues could also affect the airline’s A330-900neos if the shutdown continues.
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Delta is expected to become the first North American carrier to take Airbus’ updated “neo” variant of the A330 widebody, with the first delivery expected to come this year.
“There’s not an immediate impact, but it certainly could have an impact downstream on us,” West said.
As for the A220, Bastian said Delta does not anticipate having to cancel any flights or routes if there’s a delay. Instead, Delta can keep flying other planes on the routes where it expected to add the A220.
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The narrowbody planes, formerly known as the Bombardier CSeries, seem a candidate to become a passenger favorite. Delta’s A220s have large overhead bins and feature two-by-three seating in economy, meaning fewer middle seats. All of the plane’s seats will be wider than the industry average.
Delta has ordered two versions of the jet, with the smaller seating 109 passengers and the larger 130. Delta expects all 90 of the A220s it has ordered to be delivered by the end of 2023.
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