The Airbus 220 — a small-ish plane Delta introduced into its fleet this year — received ETOPS certification from Transport Canada.
So do you think we’ll ride A220s across the ocean?
Delta and JetBlue added East Coast to London flights operated by narrow-body aircraft. Southwest flies 737s from California to Hawaii. Is this a trend you like?
Fuel efficiency is vital to airlines. It’s one of the reasons planes with more than two engines (think 747, DC-10, MD-11) have either been phased out or are in the process of retiring to the desert. Even the A380’s days are limited (though it won’t be “extinct” for another decade or so).
We’re seeing more ETOPS-certified aircraft now. (ETOPS is an acronym for “Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards” — or another variation of that phrase. To put it very simply, these planes with two engines can fly a long distance but still divert to an airport more than at least an hour away if one engine goes out during flight).
Twin-engine wide-body planes such as A330s, A350s, Boeing 767s, 777s — you get the drift — are ETOPS-certified. But several narrow-body aircraft are, too.
British Airways operates an Airbus 318 — smaller than even an A319, naturally — on a nonstop route from New York JFK to London City. (The return flies London City to Shannon to JFK). And it seems like pretty sweet ride, too.
Delta will fly 757s between Boston and London Gatwick when that service launches in May 2020. Delta also operates 757-200s for its seasonal service from JFK to the Azores’ Ponta Delgada. (You may remember this route from a rough landing last month that damaged the plane.)
If I remember correctly, though, Delta flew 757s to at least one other European destination a while ago. (Anyone remember what they were/it was?)
And many airlines — including Delta — fly 737s or 757s to Hawaii. (My first trip to Hawaii almost 25 years ago was aboard a Northwest DC-10!)
Long haul routes bear a certain prestige — and wide-body planes sort of, well, embody that. But less expensive, small aircraft that can fly the same routes and not guzzle as much fuel may be more appealing to airlines. Especially if they can fly more often — and increase passenger load.
Why I Like Wide Bodies for Long Distance Flights
More Upgrade Space
Widebodies naturally have more first class seats than narrowbodies. This gives us better chances of using Global Upgrade Certificates. (Or comparable tokens on other airlines.)
Not As “Closed In”
When flying coach for more than five or six hours in a narrow body (such as from New York or Boston to Los Angeles), I personally start to feel claustrophobic. Widebody planes and their size help alleviate some of that.
What About Delta and Narrow Bodies?
Delta’s invested plenty of money into A330-900neo and A350-900 aircraft, not to mention upgrading the 767-400s.
Interestingly, though, the mothership also has a hundred A321neos on order, with deliveries starting next year. Do you think we’ll see the A321neos flying transcontinentals? Or even transatlantic flights?
As for the A220, its maximum range is a little over 3800 miles — about 900 miles more than a Boston to Shannon hop. And a London to a New York test was successfully completed by an A220.
I doubt it — but wouldn’t be entirely surprised.
What Do You Think?
Just for conversation sake: would you prefer more overseas frequency — but on narrow-body aircraft if distance and gate slots (and space) permit? Or do you like less frequent flights — but on wide-body planes? Would you fly an A220 on a transatlantic flight?
Tell us your thoughts in the Comments section below!
Cover image: Chris Rank/Rank Studios 2018 via Delta News Hub/Flickr
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