Airbus’ TwoTwenty, its first real business jet

By Bjorn Fehrm

September 28, 2021, ©. Leeham News: When Airbus got the A220 airliner series from Bombardier, it also got the base for a competitive business jet.

Airbus, like Boeing, has produced Corporate Jets under its ACJ (Airbus Corporate Jets) since 1997 by converting its passenger A319, A320, A330, and A350 to one-off jets for Corporations, States, or wealthy individuals.

With the business jet based on A220-100, this changes. It’s no longer a one-off production but a fully-fledged Bizjet like the Gulfstream 650/700 or Bombardier Global 6500/7500, produced in series and with a semi-custom modular interior.

Figure 1. The Airbus TwoTwenty, the first real Airbus Bizjet. Source: Airbus.

The TwoTwenty, Airbus’ entry into the business jet market

The A220 is produced for the airliner market at rate five per month right now, increasing to 14 by 2025. It forms an economic base for a business jet derivate, where an A220-100 aircraft go to a different cabin outfit location after the FAL (Final Assembly Line).

The high-end Business jet market of about 200 aircraft per year is shared between Gulfstream with its 650 and 700 and Bombardier with the 6500 and 7500. Dassault is a distant third with its 8X and from 2025 10X. It’s this market that Airbus now enters with its A220-100 transformed into a dedicated business jet.

By ferrying green A220-100s to Comlux’s completion center in Indianapolis, the production of the TwoTwenty can be smoothly integrated with the A220 airliner production.

Comlux, who is also the launch customer for the type with an order for two, fits a customizable interior based on a base cabin with a catalog of options. This is the standard in the high business jet market, where choices are wide but within predefined modules. For the TwoTwenty there are six different aircraft sections, where five can be customized, Figure 2.

Figure 2. The base TwoTwenty Cabin with optional modules. Source: Airbus.

The cabin variations are made front and rear of a common central conference area. Options are a frontal Galley and Crew area with crew rest or extended closet space, followed by a Business lounge area with different seatings, Figure 3.

Figure 3. The TwoTwenty Business lounge area, in the Avant-garde variation. Source: Airbus.

The rear is skewed toward personal space, with a Living room area in different variants, followed by a Bedroom and Bathroom. The base bathroom has a full-size shower.

The cabin changes also introduce a higher cabin pressure and increased humidity. The cabin altitude is at all times below 6,000ft, and the addition of several CTC humidifiers guarantees a comfortable environment during long trips.

Value for money

The TwoTwenty is priced in the segment of the Gulfstream 700 and Global 7500 but offers double the cabin space. The cabin is wider and higher and about 5 meters longer, at 24 meters.

The TwoTwenty leverages the airliner pedigree to lower the operating costs of the jet. Fuel consumption per aircraft mile is slightly higher (it’s a bigger aircraft), but maintenance costs are lower. Airliner engines and systems are designed for 2,500 Flight hours per year, whereas Business jets fly perhaps 500 hours. A TwoTwenty owner will probably not make a major airframe or engine overhaul before it’s time to pass the jet to the next owner.

The trade between the larger space and lower operating costs of the TwoTwenty is a maximum range of 5,600nm versus the 7,000nm for the competition, which has a cruise speed of M 0.9 versus the TwoTwentie’s M 0.8.

So what does this mean in practical use?

Flights longer than 5,600nm pass the 12 hours mark and make up the odd percent of high-end Bizjet flights. The difference in cruise speed means a US transcontinental flight takes five hours in the TwoTwenty instead of 4 hours and 45 minutes for competing jets.

The buyers in this $70-$80m segment have a choice to make. To fly direct on the occasional 15-hour flight or prioritize space and economy for the bulk of the jet’s usage.

Is the TwoTwenty good business for Airbus?

Business jets are sold at close to list price, whereas airliner deals are made with heavy discounts. The net price for a TwoTwenty will be close to two times the net price of its airliner sibling.

Though the management of a TwoTwenty business is more elaborate, and the special cabin costs considerably more than the standard A220 cabin, there should be margins left that make the TwoTwenty a good business.

By introducing the changes after the base aircraft has finished a normal FAL production, disruption of the airliner production is avoided. The changes introduced at Comlux are separate from the A220 production line and leave an uninterrupted airliner production to tap future TwoTwenty’s from. The first TwoTwenty will leave Comlux’s completion center in 2023.

24 Comments on “Airbus’ TwoTwenty, its first real business jet

  1. Is there a reason why the Dassault Falcon 10X was not mentioned at all in this article?

    • One imagine private jet leasing and charter companies and fractional ownership companies, maybe a few governments and some extremely wealthy people. Even if you own one it still means that you have to hire a crew. Not sure how the market works.

      • Crew and maintenance, even when owned or leased by a corporation or extremely wealthy family, is usually contracted out to providers. It would be useful also to make it available for some charter like the Super yacht’s are.
        A web site like avbuyer runs comparisons between small , medium and large jets regularly comparing cost price, interior space, range and running costs and depreciation ( incl the time based overhaul of components).
        The small hot rod G100/G150 was a personal favourite

  2. there should be no showstoppers to an ER with modular fuel tanks in the cargo hold, they should have tons (literally) of MTOW available to carry extra fuel, so I would expect that they will have a 7k nmi+ model on offer within 3 years if the current model proves successful.

    • The fuel space is the problem, the 5,600nm is with the belly full of ACTs, five in all. Airbus would need a more efficient means of filling this space to increase the range further. The MTOW is plenty as you say, you have a max. of 20 passengers payload.

        • The RCT (Rear Canter Tank) on the A321XDLR is a major piece of engineering because part of it is integral with the fuselage skin (though covered mostly by that wing box. It’s not an idea that is absurd though because my understanding is that the high end global business jets use such fuel tanks as a normal feature.

  3. Range will be an issue for some buyers. It can get from London to Los Angeles non stop but perhaps not from central or Eastern Europe. Apart from the 1-2 hours refuelling adds some business jet users be they politicians or businessmen do not wish to land in certain nations or jurisdictions. It is a small quibble considering the extra space and comfort.

    The ACJ319neo has a range of 6750nmi and is therefore still more useful on certain kinds of business.

    • heh heh – I knew of just such a fellow, an aircraft financier. He piloted his own GIV just for that reason. There were too many countries he was wanted in for “financial irregularities.” He even left his London office in Bruton Sq. with the rent unpaid…

    • It’s a bit of an inbetweener. The BBJ MAX-7 has a range of 7000nmi and the ACJ319 neo 6850nmi. I wonder who will buy it? Presumably it will be mainly leased or chartered and then selected when the greater range is not required.

      • Generally these high end business jets can cruise well over 40,000 ft above the congested airways for airliners.
        It seems that the Two Twenty can just reach 40,000ft and probably will be in high 30’s most of the time. For longer flights it will be trailing behind airliners. I would think the runway performance isnt as good as the newest large business jets who have to think of specific business popular airports for major cities like Teterboro, Santa Monica and Northolt etc

        • Yes, cruising altitude is important as well as range and speed. I assume low noise is already there. So Airbus might need to tweak the wing to increase fuel, cruising speed and cruising altitude. API might be asked to come up with a winglet solution similar to the BBJ’s.

        • Presumably the A200 Business Jet has good field performance compared to an B707 MAX-7 or A319neo based product.

          • I want to see that 707 Max. Does it have blended winglets, GTF engines and a Dreamliner avionics suite? CFM-56 engines were a great mod a few decades ago, but a 707 Max might extend that 707 way beyond the USAF’s time horizon for the KC-135. Probably the coolest personal aircraft ever for private operators! Tex Johnson would love it!

  4. Bombardier didn’t go through the trouble of making Global 7500 while also developing C series, if C series could be mod to be business jet. This is a compromise large bizz jet which will find niche market.

  5. Fuel consumption per aircraft mile is slightly higher (it’s a bigger aircraft), but maintenance costs are lower. Airliner engines and systems are designed for 2,500 Flight hours per year, whereas Business jets fly perhaps 500 hours. A TwoTwenty owner will probably not make a major airframe or engine overhaul before it’s time to pass the jet to the next owner.

    I would dispute this assertion, at least for the some high end biz-jets that use the Rolls Royce “Pearl” engine which is a derivative of the old BMW-710. The -715 found use on the MD (nee Boeing) -717 where it has given good service. The fractional fleet owners do fly commercial hours but they wouldn’t touch this airframe.

    Rolls Royce once named their engines after British Rivers, this new variant they named in honour of the Chinese Communist Party and the largest river in that country. This is the way the world is going.

    • A bizjet newsletter says a typical fractional jet hours is 800 per year based on 16 shares of 50 hours each, some positioning flights may be on top of that.

      Way way short of say Southwest who average 11 hrs per day for its fleet of 750 ( 2019 fig) or 4000 hrs pa.

  6. There was no BMW 710. There was always a RR-BMW joint venture which took over the Klockner Humbolt Duetz small turbine business. Hence the BR 710. They did helicopter engines and APU and such. BMW cars was separated from BMW aero engines in 1934 and had no aero knowledge as the aero engine side became MTU .

  7. Did Airbus manage to fit airstairs in this one? I couldn’t find any mention of them in their literature on-line.

  8. Seems like a rather unimaginative (and potentially confusing) name. When speaking aloud, how does one differentiate between a regular commercial “220” and a biz jet “TwoTwenty”?

  9. An integral RCT type tank might be a possibility for the A220. David Neeleman dropped a hint about 4000nmi range A220’s and once can see a similar range gain as the A321neo to A321XLR (3400nmi to 4700nmi)
    It would clearly benefit the business jet version and an airliner version able to operate to 4000nmi or further might be quite disruptive.

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