New wings, more seats, and engine flexibility: Airbus unveils plans for its A221 Model.

Airbus's latest addition to the A220 fleet may undergo a considerable transformation, with the possibility of new wings, alternative engine choices, and a yet-to-be-determined increase in size, disclosed Christian Scherer, CEO of Commercial Aviation at Airbus. 

The information emerged in an interview with the aviation journalist Jon Ostrower, shedding light on the future of the single-aisle jet market.

From my perspective, and Airbus’s perspective, we need a stretch, we’re not quite sure to what extent. That’s why we don’t call it a -500, call it A221,” Scherer told Ostrower.

Formerly referred to as the A220-500, the larger variant of the A220 family might soon be known by the moniker 'A221'. The company's intent to christen the model with this new name indicates a strategic shift away from the nomenclature of its predecessors.

However, Airbus is yet to finalize crucial details, including the aircraft's dimensions. The prevailing sentiment is that the revamped A221 should have the capacity to transport approximately 170 passengers in a standard configuration – a significant boost of around 20 seats more than the current A220-300 model. Nonetheless, Scherer insists that such an expansion should not compromise the aircraft's range, which should be at par or surpass existing models.

To that end, Airbus is contemplating the creation of a novel wing built with composite material, following a strategy similar to its competitor, Embraer, which offers tailored wings for each model in its E2 range.

A key facet of the impending A221 is its prospective engine versatility, akin to the flexibility seen in the A320neo family. Beyond the current GTF option by Pratt & Whitney, Airbus aims to have the A221 certified to accommodate engines like the CFM LEAP. This move would significantly broaden the aircraft's appeal to potential buyers by offering them a wider array of propulsion systems.