Whoever plans the Airbus testing program knows their long-range weather forecasts. One of the world’s newest regional jet airliners landed in Yellowknife on Sunday ahead of a series of cold-weather tests.
An Airbus A220-300 arrived in the NWT’s capital as residents endured their second extended spell of bitterly cold weather in a month. Temperatures barely crept above -40C as the plane reached Yellowknife on Sunday, and are not expected to exceed -30C for the remainder of the week.
Details of the testing program are not known. Cabin Radio has approached Airbus Canada Limited Partnership, which runs development of the A220, for information.
The partnership, headquartered in Québec, includes Airbus alongside Bombardier. The A220-300 was previously known as the Bombardier CS300 until Airbus acquired a majority stake in the program two years ago.
The City of Yellowknife and territorial government have been increasing their efforts to market the city as a cold-weather testing hub. Airbus’ helicopter manufacturing division carried out similar tests in Yellowknife five years ago, while Bell Helicopters praised the city after a more recent visit.
The A220-300, which ordinarily seats 120 to 150 passengers, has been operational since December 2016. Air Canada has 44 of the aircraft on order and one already in service.
With the Boeing 737 Max still grounded following two crashes that between them caused 346 deaths, and production of those jets now suspended, Airbus has been marketing the A220 as the aircraft to fill that gap.
“It’s too cold to paint it green,” joked Buffalo Airways’ Mikey McBryan online – referring to his airline’s signature colour – as the A220 was marshalled to a stand at Buffalo’s Yellowknife facility on Sunday.