The first Airbus A220-300 regional jet for EgyptAir has completed its initial test flight from the Mirabel assembly line and is scheduled to be delivered to Cairo in the next few weeks, the manufacturer said Aug. 23.

The aircraft is the first of 12 that the Egyptian national carrier has on order. They are destined to replace Embraer E170s with EgyptAir Express, the airline’s regional subsidiary.

The A220-300s are expected initially to be used on domestic Egyptian services but will also range further afield. The 76-seat Embraer aircraft, which are around 12 years old, are used on short-haul international services and, in winter, are sometimes used by the mainline carrier to operate thinner routes to areas such as central and southern Europe when passenger loads do not justify the use of a Boeing 737-800.

The A220-300’s greater range (3,400nm or 6,300km) will allow EgyptAir to increase the number of destinations that can be reached by the smaller aircraft.

The aircraft will be supplied in a 134-seat layout, but the precise cabin configuration is to be unveiled when the aircraft is delivered.

EgyptAir also has plans for substantial increases in its African services—partly to compete with the increasing inroads being made there by the Middle East “Big 3” and Turkish Airlines—and the small A220 is likely to be well-suited to opening up routes on the continent.

Alan Dron