Delta Air Lines’ first Airbus A220-100 has emerged from the paintshop ahead of its delivery in 2019.
Pictures released by Airbus and Delta show the aircraft formerly known as the CSeries being towed to the final assembly line in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada.
The aircraft will undergo ground tests before undertaking its first flight in the next few months.
Delta said it was scheduled to begin service with the regional jet in early 2019.
“There’s nothing like seeing years of planning come together in the shape of a freshly painted aircraft,” Delta fleet management team project manager Larry Cato said in a statement.
“It’s a major milestone for the future of our fleet.”
The first Delta A220-100 took nine days to paint and required 200 rolls of masking tape and 165 gallons (625 litres) of paint.
“It’s a tremendous feeling of accomplishment to know we just outfitted North America’s first A220 from tail to tip,” an Airbus supervisor in the Mirabel paint shop Julie Léveillé said.
“I’ve been working in the paint shop for 15 years. It can be a challenging job, but seeing the finished product makes it worth it.”
— Delta News Hub (@DeltaNewsHub) September 14, 2018
Delta ordered 75 A220-100s in 2016. Then, the program was owned by Bombardier and the aircraft referred to as the CS100. It also held options for a further 50 airframes, which could be either the A220-100 or larger A220-300.
It was the first firm order for the aircraft from a US carrier. Since then, US carrier JetBlue in July 2018 announced it had ordered 60 Airbus A220-300s, with deliveries starting in 2020.
In October 2017, Airbus struck an agreement with Bombardier to become a partner and 50.01 per cent majority shareholder in the CSeries program, with Bombardier and the Quebec governments investment arm, Investissement Québec, owning approximately 34 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.
The deal was finalised on July 1 2018 and later in the month Airbus officially rebranded the CSeries as the A220 at an event held at its Toulouse headquarters featuring invited guests, executives from both companies and invited media.
The A220 family comprises two models, the A220-100 (100-135 seats) and A220-300 (130-160 seats), formerly Bombardier’s CS100 and CS300.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G geared turbofan, the CSeries competes for the lower end of the narrowbody market alongside the Embraer E2 and Mitsubishi Regional Jet, and to a lesser degree designs from Sukhoi and COMAC.
The C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership’s (CSALP) head office, primary assembly line and related functions are based in Mirabel, Québec.
A second assembly line was also being established in the United States at Mobile, Alabama.
There have been 402 orders for the A220 family of aircraft, with 42 aircraft delivered to three customers – airBaltic, Korean Air and Swiss – as of August 31 2018, according to the Airbus website.
VIDEO: Some air-to-air footage of the A220-300 in flight from the Airbus YouTube channel.