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Airbus A220-300 in Lisbon by airBaltic
Bombardier CS300 which is now called Airbus A220-300 is taxiing to its gate at Lisbon International Airport.

AirBaltic Airbus A220 - What Is It Like?

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • January 11, 2022

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Airbus A220

Airbus A220 is a modern aircraft family consisting of two different types: A220-100 and A220-300. Even though the family is called Airbus A220, these aircraft have a Canadian background. Airbus A220 was known as Bombardier CSeries before Airbus started marketing these aircraft on behalf of Bombardier Aerospace.

Manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace in Canada

Airbus A220 has been designed by a Canadian company Bombardier Aerospace. In the family, there are two different types: Airbus A220-100 and Airbus A220-300. Before the co-operation with Airbus started, 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 this type in 2018.

Modern and Economical

Airbus A220 aircraft are meant for short-haul routes and their maximum range is about 6000 km depending on the exact configuration and type. That is enough for flying between any two cities in Europe. The passenger capacity of an aircraft varies between 100 and 150 seats. Airbus A220-100 is the smallest aircraft type in Airbus' portfolio. The main competitors in the same size class are Brazilian Embraer and Russian Suhoi Superjet. Many European airlines already fly with Embraers but Suhoi Superjets are still rarely seen.

Airbus A220 is a young aircraft family. The maiden flight of A220-100 took place in 2013. Because the aircraft has a new and modern design, they consume less fuel and produce less CO2 emissions. Aircraft also have an electronic fly-by-wire controlling system which increases safety and reduces weight.

Safety of Airbus A220

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

Airbus A220-300 in Berlin-Tegel Airport.
During winter, airBaltic must be able to operate in icy, dark and windy conditions as airBaltic's hub is located quite north in Riga, Latvia.

During the 9 years history of Airbus A220, there have not been any fatal accidents. This is a good sign and gives an impression that the plane is safe to travel with. However, the aircraft has not been 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 aeroplane can normally fly safely even with one faulty engine.

Airbus A220 in airBaltic's Fleet

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

AirBaltic has historically had an old fleet consisting mainly of classical Boeing 737 planes. The aircraft have been even older than 20 years so airBaltic desperately needed to renew the fleet. The face-lift reduced also the operating costs by decreasing the fuel burn. AirBaltic had already been using Dash Q400 turboprops from Bombardier earlier so it was logical to order turbojets from the same manufacturer.

Experiences onboard AirBaltic's Airbus A220

We have flown 8 flights with airBaltic's Airbus A220-300 and all flights have been pleasant ones. We have also flown with airBaltics old Boeing 737 fleet and the quality gap between the old Boeing 737 and the new Airbus A220 is huge.

Our most important remark of Airbus A220 is that flying feels smooth and comfortable when there is no turbulence. In addition, the cabin is surprisingly quiet. As long as the planes are young, the cabins look fresh and clean. We also feel that the airBaltic's A220 planes are beautiful with a nice livery.

The cabin of AirBaltic
The cabin of Airbus A220-300 is not big but it 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. Much white-shaded led lighting has been used which makes the cabin feel bigger than it is. Big windows give also an impression of space.

The seat pitch in the economy class is 32 inches that are more than on many other airlines. 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 are.

Seats of airBaltic
There is 32 inches of 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.

Led Lighting

All modern aircraft have 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, many green shades are used while it is the colour of the company's brand.

Entertainment System

Airbus A220-300 is mainly used for moderately short routes and entertainment during the flight isn't an important factor. In airBaltic's A220 planes, there are magazines and also a small information screen. The screen is 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
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 share 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 of the cabin is higher than in the front. That is common because engine noise reaches the rear part first. You may prefer to seat as front as possible to avoid engine noise.

Is airBaltic Airbus A220 a Good Choice?

If you have many flight options to choose from and some of them are operated with Airbus A220-300, we recommend you to choose this modern type. Travelling with an Airbus A220 is a comfortable experience especially when the flight is operated by airBaltic. The cabin is small but it isn't an issue during a few hours flight.

Bottom Line

Airbus A220-300 is one of our favourite planes to fly short-haul routes. After airBaltic's face-lift, we feel that airBaltic is a great option to fly in Europe. The company has continuously improved itself as our airBaltic review describes.

It is important to compare flight prices because they vary a lot. Find the best flight deals on Skyscanner.

In Europe, you will most likely board Airbus A220-300 when flying any route with airBaltic. Airbus A220 is also slowly becoming more popular among Asian and American airlines.

Have you flown with Airbus A220? How would you rate your experience, comment below!

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Destination: Latvia

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Readers' Comments (3)

  1. 10-21-2019 at 11:16am UTC by Tim Jones :

    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.

    1. 01-25-2022 at 8:54am UTC by RD :

      Well, til date no CS series has been involved in any air accidents. About the engines - the A220-200 or simply the CS series uses the new Pratt & Whitney planetary engine modification which took them at least 20 years to develop. These engines are cutting edge and ahead of its time. Although lately Rolls Royce has began their version of it as well. This engine type uses a set of gears inside the engine so that the rotational speed of the fan differs from that of its engine. It's fan blades rotates slower than the engine which increases its efficiency overall including fuel consumption reduction per distance traveled. That is why these engines not only increases the range of smaller planes but also less polluting and cheaper to fly (because airlines won't be needing travel hubs anymore because they can fly direct to their destination).

    2. 10-21-2019 at 12:21pm UTC by 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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