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Review: Airbus A220 of airBaltic

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • Updated: 10/24/19 | June 28, 2019
Airbus A220-300 in Lisbon by airBaltic
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Bombardier CS300 that is now called as Airbus A220-300 is taxiing to its gate at Lisbon International Airport.

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Table of Contents

  1. Airbus A220
    1. Aircraft from Canada
    2. Modern and Economical Plane
  2. Safety of Airbus A220
  3. AirBaltic Fleet
  4. Our Remarks on AirBaltic's Airbus A220
    1. Cabin Size
    2. Colour-changing Led Lighting
    3. Entertainment System
    4. Noise Level
  5. Should I Prefer Airbus A220 over Other Types?
  6. Bottom Line

Airbus A220

Airbus A220 aircraft is a modern family of two plane types, which may not yet be well-known for ordinary travellers. Even though the family is called as Airbus, these aircraft have a Canadian background. The family was known as Bombardier CSeries before Airbus started to market these aircaft in 2018 on behalf of Bombardier Aerospace.

Aircraft from Canada

Airbus A220 family has been designed by a Canadian company Bombardier Aerospace. There are 2 different aircraft types belonging to the family: Airbus A220-100 and Airbus A220-300. Before the co-operation with Airbus, the types were called correspondingly as Bombardier CS100 and CS300.

Airbus A220-300 in Riga International Airport by airBaltic

Airbus A220-300 being loaded at Riga International Airport. The photo was taken before Airbus started marketing the type in 2018.

Modern and Economical Plane

Airbus A220 planes are meant for short-haul routes and their maximum range is about 6000 KMs depending on the exact configuration. That is enough to fly between any two cities in Europe. The passenger capacity of this aircraft varies between 100 and 150 seats. In other words, Airbus A220 aircraft are the smallest equipment in Airbus' portfolio. The main competitors in the same class are Brazilian Embraer and Russian Suhoi Superjet. Many European airlines are flying with Embraer but Superjet is still rarely seen.

Airbus A220 Series is a young aircraft family. The first flight of Airbus A220-100 took place in 2013. Because the planes have new and modern design, they consume less fuel and produce less CO2 emissions. Aircraft also have electronic fly-by-wire controlling system to increase safety and to reduce planes' weight.

Safety of Airbus A220

When there is a new plane in the market, people may start wondering if such plane type is safe. Surprisingly, new aircraft types may be less safe than older ones. There are not enough real-life experiences of the new design solutions and sometimes they may include design flaws. In contrast, new aircraft are better equipped with modern technology that increases safety.

Airbus A220-300 in Berlin-Tegel Airport.

During winter, the aircraft must be able to operate in icy, dark and windy conditions as airBaltic's hub is located quite north in Riga, Latvia.

During the 7 years history of Airbus A220, there have not been any fatal accident. This is a good sign and it gives an impression that the plane is safe to travel with. However, the aircraft have not been totally incident-free. For example, airBaltic has performed 50 engine replacements to their A220 fleet for various reasons. Another A220 operator, Swiss, has had three in-flight engine failures which led to the inspection of the whole A220 fleet. Engine problems are always a severe thing. A good thing is that the past incidents will be carefully investigated and the design can be altered to make the engines more reliable. And it's good to remember that an airplane can normally fly safely even with one faulty engine.

AirBaltic Fleet

We have flown several times with Airbus A220-300 operated by airBaltic. AirBaltic was the first carrier who started to operate flights with A220-300 in 2016. Today, airBaltic has almost 20 Airbus A220-300 planes and more are coming.

AirBaltic has historically had really old fleet consisting mainly of classical Boeing 737 planes. The aircraft have been even older than 20 years so airBaltic really needed to renew their fleet to get a face-lift. The face-lift is also reducing the operating costs by reducing fuel burn. AirBaltic has already been using Dash Q400 turboprops from Bombardier long time so it was quite logical to order turbojets from the same manufacturer.

We have flown 6 flights with airBaltic's Airbus A220-300 and all flights have been pleasant ones. We have also flown with airBaltics old Boeing 737 aircraft and the quality gap between old Boeing 737 and new Airbus A220 is huge.

Our Remarks on AirBaltic's Airbus A220

We have made a few remarks on airBaltic's Airbus A220-300. The greatest remark is that the flying feels really smooth and comfortable when there is no turbulence. In addition, the cabin is also surprisingly quiet. As long as the planes are young, the cabins look fresh and clean. We also feel that the planes are beautiful especially with airBaltic's livery.

The cabin of AirBaltic's A220-300

The cabin of Airbus A220-300 is not big but is looks smooth and comfortable. Seats are allocated 2+3.

Cabin Size

We can't say that the cabin of airBaltic's Airbus A220-300 is big but at least it feels spacious. When much white-shaded led lighting has been used, it makes the cabin to feel bigger than it is. Big windows give you also an impression of space.

The seat pitch in the economy class is 32 inches that is actually more than many other airlines offer. Low-cost airlines use typically only 29 inches and many traditional airlines 31 inches. The seats of Airbus A220-300 do not only feel spacious but they actually are.

Seats of airBaltic's Airbus A220-300

There is 32 inches space between seat rows in airBaltic's Airbus A220-300. That is more than many other airlines offer. The seats are big enough even for tall people.

Colour-changing Led Lighting

All new planes have typically led lighting. They consume less energy, produce less heat and colours can be changed. Also Airbus A220-300 has a similar lighting system and in airBaltic's cabin, much green shades are used while it is the colour of the company's brand.

Entertainment System

Airbus A220-300 is mainly used to moderately short routes and entertainment during the flight isn't that important factor. In airBaltic's planes there are magazines available and also a small information screen. The screen is really tiny and one screen is shared with 3 rows. The small screen is only useful to share flight information. During our last flight, the sound quality in the cabin was bad.

The info screen of airBaltic's Airbus A220.

Would you like to watch a movie on this tiny screen that is shared with many rows? Probably no. But the screen is big enough to display flight information.

Noise Level

Based on our subjective experiences, Airbus A220-300 is quieter than many other new planes we have flown with. We noticed that the noise level in the rear cabin is higher than in the front. That is common because engine noise reaches the rear part of the plane first. You may prefer to seat as front as possible to avoid noise.

Should I Prefer Airbus A220 over Other Types?

If you have many route options to choose from and some of them are flown with Airbus A220-300, we recommend you to choose that flight. Travelling with Airbus A220 is comfortable experience especially when the flight is operated by airBaltic. Of course, the plane is small but short routes are normally operated with small planes.

Bottom Line

Airbus A220-300 is one of our favourite planes to fly short routes. After airBaltic's face-lift, we also feel that airBaltic is a great option to fly in Europe. You may have read from our previous airBaltic review that not all our airBaltic experiences have been successful. However, we feel that the company is improving itself all the time.

Flight prices vary a lot and comparing them is vital to get cheap flights. Check our booking resources to get your flights cheaper.

In Europe, you will most likely board Airbus A220-300 when flying with airBaltic for a route that is longer than 2 hours. So far, in Europe there are not many other A220 operators but a few orders have been placed. A220 is also becoming slowly more popular in America and Asia.

While looking for Airbus A220 flights, compare prices at Skyscanner not to pay too much.

Have you flown with Airbus A220? How would you rate your experience?

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Comments (2)

  1. You don't mention the several inflight engine failures due to engine explosions experienced by baltic, Korean, Swiss and etheopian airlines or the massive amount of engine changes due to other failures. 50 on baltic and 160 on swiss in a few years.

    Reply

    1. Oct 21, 2019 at 12:21 EEST Niko / Finnoy Travel :

      Hello Tim.

      Thanks for the great comment. You are right that especially lately, A220 has experienced many engine troubles. The amount is greater than normally should occur

      We will add this to the article's body text.

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