While the Airbus A350-1000 is in the running for Qantas' globe-striding Project Sunrise fleet, its much smaller A220 sibling will also visit Sydney next week in the hope of making a favourable impression on Qantas.
The A220 is an advanced single-aisle jet – previously known as the Bombardier CSeries, before being acquired and rebranded by Airbus in 2017 – which sits between regional jets such as the Boeing 717 and the popular workhorse Boeing 737 in passenger capacity and range.
The smaller A220-100 model can typically accommodate 100-120 passengers in a two-class version (or 135 in an all-economy cabin), while the A220-300 has space for 120-150 travellers in a two-class configuration, or 160 guests in economy-only.
Airbus will bring an A220-300 aircraft to Sydney on Tuesday October 29 and host an hour-long charter flight "for airline executives and other invited guests" from 1.30-2.30pm.
Typically designed to give airline executives some personal experience with a plane in their own backyard, these tours help aircraft manufacturers to build interest in their planes and, ultimately, drive sales.
Airbus flew an A350-1000 to Sydney in early 2018 on a similar exercise, which saw Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce share a demonstration flight with invited media.
The A220-300 will then dart north to Brisbane (not coincidentally, the home of Virgin Australia), cross the Tasman to Auckland, and then work its way back to Europe with stops in Papua New Guinea, Noumea, Cambodia and India.
Typically adopting a 2-2 seating layout in business class and a 2-3 configuration in economy, the A220's passenger-friendly traits include larger windows, high-capacity overhead bins and LED lighting.
The Airbus A220 is already being flown by a number of overseas airlines, including Swiss and Delta Air Lines, with Air Canada and JetBlue planning to use new A220s to replace their existing Embraer E190 aircraft.