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The Boeing 737 MAX Killer?

The Boeing 737 MAX Killer?
Joe Cortez

With the Boeing 737-MAX still grounded, airlines are looking elsewhere for a narrow-body solution. Air France-KLM is looking to Airbus to close that gap, potentially with a stretched version of the A220 for short- and medium-haul flights.

Airlines are starting to lose patience with Boeing and the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft, forcing them to look elsewhere for a narrow-body aircraft capable of flying short- and medium-haul flights. But does Airbus have an equivalent solution? Flight Global reports Air France-KLM is working with Airbus on a potential stretch version of the A220 aircraft prompting at least one publication to dub it the “lethal weapon facing Boeing 737-800 and MAX 8.”

Airbus purchased a majority stake in the CSeries project from Bombardier and Investissement Québec in October 2017. Less than one year later, the project was renamed the “Airbus 220,” and has proven popular among airlines. Operating carriers report the aircraft is very fuel-efficient and have a greater range than traditional regional jets.

But for Air France-KLM, their interest is in a longer variant of the A220. During a quarterly financial call, the air operator announced an order for up to 120 A220 airframes: 60 firm orders, 30 options and 30 purchase rights. And if Airbus introduces a longer version, company chief executive Ben Smith said they could switch some orders to the bigger aircraft.

While Airbus has not confirmed that a larger aircraft is in the works, the French builder has hinted towards a program expansion. Earlier in 2019, Airbus added on an option for increased maximum take-off weight available in 2020, in order to increase range.

With France planning on an “environmental tax,” Air France-KLM is looking at their entire operations with the goal of making Air France profitable. Part of that includes using more fuel-efficient aircraft and reconfiguring their regional and low-cost subsidiaries.


[Featured Image: Airbus]

View Comments (9)


  1. BJM

    August 13, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    I think the headline is a bit misguided. If the MAX program goes under the only one Boeing can blame (IMO) is Boeing. The A220 just happens to be in a place to fill in a potential gap left by MAX’s grounding.

  2. pagophilus

    August 13, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    I would have thought the obvious replacement for a MAX would be a 320NEO, not a 220.

  3. Daner

    August 14, 2019 at 4:33 am

    The 320NEO is already in service and can be ordered today, while a stretched A220 (no matter how good it might eventually be) is considerably farther from availability.

  4. alexmyboy

    August 14, 2019 at 4:56 am

    cutting corners leads to even more costs

  5. ulxima

    August 14, 2019 at 6:19 am

    The 300 version of the 220 competes with the MAX 7 and the A319.

  6. jmpaul

    August 14, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    We should all wish the A220 well. Note in the Flyer Talk link “Why Airlines Love the Airbus A220″ that the seats are 19” wide. This blows away the 737 and even improves on the A320.
    It’s a 2-3 config so even better.

  7. OZFLYER86

    August 14, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    airbus says the A220-300 typical seating 2 class is 120-150.

    Wonder what maximum seating is in 1 class ?

    It has a range of 6204 kms, so could do a lot of routes that are too thin for an A320/B738/or more often. Business types who pay high fares love frequent.

    Sure costs per seat are reduced, the bigger the aircraft, but that means less frequency.

  8. SamirD

    August 14, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    Boeing better fix the max mess before it turns into Mad Max…get it…lol.

    I don’t understand how airlines can actually remain calm and not demand their money back as they have increased expenses from working around not having the max, and then also having the payments for these planes just sitting on the ground. I would be absolutely livid. When the airlines finally get this mad, it will be too late as Boeing will have a class action law suit big enough to put them under.

  9. Sydneyberlin

    August 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Anything that allows us to avoid that dodgy Max is a good thing.

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