PARIS, FRANCE — Airbus announced on Wednesday that it currently has no plans to introduce a stretched version of its A220 jetliner, dispelling rumors of an imminent launch at the upcoming Paris Airshow.

The notion of an enlarged version of the 110-130-seat passenger plane has been floating for some time, and an Airbus spokesperson confirmed that it's a question of "when, not if". However, they emphasized that "right now, the A220-100 and A220-300 are the priority and we're not looking to launch a new variant in the current environment."

Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury has stated that the company's top priority is addressing recent production delays amid persistent pressure on the supply chain.

Speculation about an imminent launch mounted on Wednesday following a Bank of America note suggesting that Airbus would unveil the so-called A220-500 version at the June 19-25 event near Paris. Nevertheless, two industry insiders dismissed the possibility of an airshow announcement.

An enlarged version of the currently unprofitable A220 program, which Airbus acquired from Canada's Bombardier in 2018, would enable Airbus to renegotiate supplier contracts and decrease overall per-aircraft production costs, which have kept the venture in deficit. This move would also pose a challenge to the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

However, this larger version could encroach on a market presently served by the 150-seat A320neo, a key component of Airbus's narrow-body lineup that generates most of the aircraft manufacturer's profits.

Most industry insiders predict an A220-500 launch closer to mid-decade, with the aircraft entering service around 2030, potentially featuring new wings and engines.

This move could significantly impact the ongoing sales competition between Airbus and Boeing. It may signal a division of the narrow-body market into two segments, with Airbus first replacing the A320neo and later addressing a replacement for the larger A321neo with advanced technology, according to industry analysts. However, this could compromise the compatibility which is a major selling point of narrow-body jets.

Airbus has suggested that a new A220 variant could offer a choice of engines. Last year, the company told The Air Current that it would welcome bids from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran, in addition to current supplier Pratt & Whitney.