Airbus hopes to secure “several hundreds of additional orders” for the newly renamed A220 this year, according to Airbus CCO Eric Schulz.

Airbus and the CSeries Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) presented the first A220 in its new livery in Toulouse on July 10. The aircraft was repainted in secrecy at East Midlands airport and was ferried to France in the morning. The aircraft in Airbus’ typical design will also be on display at the Farnborough Air Show.

Airbus took majority control of CSALP on July 1 and is marketing the A220 as part of its product line. The CS100 is now the A220-100 while the larger CS300 is now called A220-300. According to Schulz, the new designation is supposed to show the aircraft is now part of Airbus and that it is smaller than the A320. The designation also positions it “above” the competing Embraer E195-E2.

Unlike other Airbus programs, the A220 will have a designated head of sales, David Dufrenois. “Ultimately, this job will go away,” Schulz said. “But I was concerned that the attention for the A220 would be diluted in the various [geographical] business units.”

The A220-100 is marketed as an “entry level aircraft,” a growth vehicle for regional airlines and a tool for carriers requiring special performance for challenging airports such as London City. Airbus sees the A220-300 as a hub feeder and a lower risk option for startup carriers.

The A319neo, the same size as the A220-300, but burdened with significantly higher seat mile costs, is positioned as a “high performance aircraft,” as head of marketing Antonio Da Costa put it. Of the more than 6,100 firm orders for the A320neo family, only 56 are for the A319neo, which is currently still in flight testing.

Airbus said the A220-100 and -300 have 13% lower seat mile costs than the Embraer E190-E2 and E195-E2, respectively. Embraer’s figures see an advantage for the E2.

In addition to sales, executives identified getting production costs down as another key challenge for the A220. Dufrenois said production costs need to be reduced by “a double-digit” percentage, without being more specific. CSALP has already held “preliminary discussions” with suppliers, said Rob Dewar, head of product support and engineering. Those talks showed that the supply chain is “very supportive” of the aircraft, Dewar said.

More favorable supplier contracts can likely be achieved if Airbus can guarantee its partners much higher volumes and lower risk. There are 402 firm orders for the A220, 38 aircraft have so far been delivered to three airlines—airBaltic (9), SWISS (23) and Korean Air (6).

Airbus said the market for aircraft of 100-150 seats is around 6,000 aircraft in 20 years. It includes the A319neo, A220-100 and A220-300 as well as competing aircraft in the size category.

Up to 120 A220s can be built at Bombardier’s Mirabel plant, up to 60 are to be assembled at the new final assembly line in Mobile/Alabama that is supposed to open in 2020. In Mobile, the A320neo and A220 programs will share the delivery center and the paint shop.

Executives were cautious about the prospects of creating a larger degree of commonality between the A320neo and the A220. “There is some possibility in the future to migrate the cockpits, but now the focus is on the ramp-up,” Dewar said. Common design language is to be applied not only on the Airbus livery, but also in the cabin over time.

Dewar and Schulz also the A220 could be stretched further, along the lines of the CS500 project Bombardier envisioned earlier. But both stressed that a decision is not near and would have to come following a strategy review. A further stretch would potentially put the A220 in direct competition with the A320neo.

Jens Flottau, jens.flottau@aviationweek.com