On Oct. 8, The Daily Beast published a detailed account that says Airbus’s A220 — now rolling off a new production line in Mobile — beat Boeing at innovation and led Boeing to make disastrous blunders with its 737-MAX.
Airbus began manufacturing the A220 jetliner in the U.S. in August, at the company’s second airliner production line in Mobile. The first line in Mobile produces larger, A320 jets.
The following excerpt is from the Daily Beast story:
The C Series brought another advantage. Unlike Boeing’s 737, its cockpit had state of the art fly-by-wire flight controls that made it compatible with the rest of the Airbus jets, giving it an appeal to the many airlines already flying them.
To ram home just how much Airbus was now able to out-game Boeing, they said they would build a final assembly line for the C Series in Alabama for those sold to American Airlines, thereby removing the vulnerability to tariffs.
Airbus rebranded the jet as the A220 and in February this year Delta began flying the first of a planned fleet of A220s on U.S. routes. Jet Blue has followed by ordering 60 A220s that, they say, are 40 percent more efficient to operate than the Embraers they replace. There are now more than 500 A220s on order.
The founder of Jet Blue, David Neeleman, who left the airline in 2007, is so enamored of the A220 that he is planning a new airline based on it. As with Jet Blue, this airline could be a disruptor: Neeleman is talking to Airbus about a long-range version that would open up entirely new routes between the U.S. and Europe and the U.S. and South America to serve smaller cities that don’t generate enough traffic for big jets but could be efficiently served only by the A220.