First significant order for A220 since Spirit Aero deal to buy Bombardier's Belfast operation
AIRBUS has secured the first significant order for its A220 series since Bombardier agreed to sell its entire operation in the north to US-based Spirit Aerosystems three weeks ago.
State-owned Air Senegal has signed a memorandum of understanding for eight A220-300 aircraft.
The deal was announced at the Dubai Airshow yesterday.
Airbus acquired a majority stake in Bombardier's C-series jet in July 2018. The narrow-body planes have been designed for the 100-150 seat market.
Rebranded as the A220, the wings for the aircraft are still manufactured by workers in the Canadian firm's Belfast operation.
Around 3,600 are still employed across Bombardier's sites in east Belfast, Dunmurry, Newtownabbey and Newtownards.
Bombardier placed its entire aerostructures facilities in Morocco and the north up for sale in May 2019.
Kansas-based Spirit Aero was announced as the buyer on October 31, in a deal worth up to £1billion.
The company is already a major supplier to US aircraft manufacturer Boeing, but has long-held aspirations of increasing it workload with European-based Airbus.
Airbus currently has 530 orders for A220 planes on its books.
Based on list price, the latest order by Air Senegal could be worth up to £560 million, but it's unlikely that the African carrier paid full price.
It's understood the east African airline, which was set up in 2016, is seeking to establish a regional hub near Senegal's capital Dakar.
Air Senegal's chief executive, Ibrahima Kane, said: “These new A220 aircrafts will contribute to develop our long-haul network to Europe and our regional network in Africa. Combined with our recent A330neo aircraft, this new Airbus fleet reveals Air Senegal's ambition to offer the best travel experience for our passengers.
Chief commercial officer at Airbus, Christian Scherer added: “The number of A220s operation on the African continent is steadily growing and we are proud to add Senegal's new flag carrier in our list of A220 African customers. Offering the lowest operating costs in its category, the A220 is the best aircraft for airlines to launch new domestic and international routes efficiently.”