Delta Air Lines’ first A220-100 regional jet has completed its maiden test flight.
The first flight took place at Mirabel in Canada on October 6, with the aircraft in the air for two hours and 53 minutes while the flight crew checked the aircraft’s main systems, Airbus said in a statement.
Pre-delivery tests and assembly of the cabin interiors would continue ahead of delivery to the airline.
Delta Air Lines was due to begin commercial service with the A220 in early 2019.
The airline is the first in the United States to operate the aircraft and the fourth overall behind Swiss International Air Lines, airBaltic and Korean Air.
Delta Air Lines 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 45 aircraft delivered to three customers – airBaltic, Korean Air and Swiss – as of September 30 2018, according to the Airbus website.
VIDEO: A look at the the first flight of Delta Air Lines’ first A220-100 from the Airbus YouTube channel.