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Delta Airbus A220 debut delayed due to government shutdown

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Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian announced on Tuesday that the debut of the airline’s brand new Airbus A220 jets will likely be delayed due to the government shutdown.

Bastian and Delta COO Gil West told reporters and industry analysts on its fourth quarter 2018 earnings call that certifications of new aircraft types can’t be completed with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors furloughed amid the government shutdown.

Since Delta is the first US airline to operate the A220, formerly known as the Bombardier C Series, federal regulators must certify every from its safety systems to its seats before the jet can carry passengers.

Delta took delivery of its first Canadian-built A220 in October and the Atlanta-based carrier was expected to put the next-generation carbon-composite airliner into service at the end of January.

Delta has a total of 90 Airbus A220s on order.

Read more: Delta’s CEO said the airline will lose $25 million this month due to the government shutdown.

It’s unclear how much of a delay the shutdown has caused. The potential delay in the debut of the A220 is not likely to cause major operational issues the airline said. It will, however, disappoint the aviation fans who purchased tickets on its launch flight.

According to West, the shutdown could also affect the certification of Delta’s incoming fleet of Airbus A330-900neo widebody airliners; another aircraft type for which Delta is the US launch customer. However, the Delta COO explained that the shutdown is not expected to have an immediate impact on the A330neo, but could be problematic downstream if it persists.

Delta is expected to receive the first of its order of 35 A330-900neos later this year.

A rendering of Delta’s Airbus A330-900neo.
Airbus

In addition to delayed aircraft, the shutdown is expected to cost the airline $25 million in lost business due to the lack of government-related travel.

Delta reported $5.2 billion in pretax income for 2018 on $44 billion in revenues.

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