The launch customer for the long-awaited C Series airliner from Bombardier Aerospace, SWISS, has revealed it will announce its initial flight schedule for the type in the first quarter of next year, although London City Airport in the UK will be among the destinations to be served by the aircraft. The European flag carrier expects to put its first CS100 into passenger operation in the middle of next year but despite remaining tight-lipped on its launch route, confirmed it has already earmarked a late 2016 or early 2017 debut at London City for the C Series.
The basic details on the timescale for its C Series network debut were made as SWISS announced the conversion of ten of its 30 firm-ordered CS100 aircraft to the larger CS300 aircraft at the Paris Air Show. The original purchase agreement for 30 CS100 aircraft was signed by its parent company, Lufthansa, on SWISS’ behalf in 2009.
“With its size and its low operating costs, the CS300 aircraft ideally complements the CS100 aircraft and the rest of our European fleet,” said Harry Hohmeister, chief executive officer, SWISS. “With both versions of the new C Series family of aircraft in our ranks, we can be highly flexible in tailoring capacity to demand on our European routes.”
SWISS will configure its initial CS100s in a two-class 121 seat arrangement. The aircraft will have a 2-3 layout throughout the aircraft although the business cabin will only be sold as 1-2 arrangement providing passengers with an empty seat beside them. The aircraft will replace older less-efficient four-engined Avro RJ100 in the airline’s fleet.
Bombardier Aerospace announced at the Paris Air Show that based on flight tests results, its all-new CS100 and CS300 aircraft are exceeding their original targets for fuel burn, payload, range and airfield performance. In addition, the C Series aircraft are on track to meet noise performance targets, making them the quietest commercial jets in production.
The C Series aircraft's maximum range has been confirmed to be up to 3,300 nautical miles (6,112 km), some 350 nauticalmiles (648 km) more than originally targeted. The aircraft is delivering more than a 20 per cent fuel burn advantage compared to in-production aircraft, and a greater than 10 per cent advantage compared to re-engined aircraft.
"The C Series performance is better than advertised – while offering a best-in-class cabin, and carrying up to 15 passengers more than initially promised. This will provide increased profitability and market access for operators, along with convenience and comfort for passengers," said Fred Cromer, president, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
The C Series project makes a big step from Bombardier’s commercial aviation roots in regional turboprop and jet equipment and represents the arrival of a real competitor to Airbus and Boeing in the short-haul arena. The two aircraft family includes the CS100 which will seat 110 passengers and the 135 seat CS300 with capacity for 135 passengers with the current orderbook showing 63 commitments for the smaller version and 180 orders for the larger variant.
The current customer list includes airBaltic, Gulf Air, Iraqi Airways, Korean Air, Malmo Aviation, PrivatAir, Republic Airways Saudi Gulf Airlines and SWISS, start-up carrier Odyssey Airlines and lessors Falcon Aviation Services, Ilyushin Finance, Lease Corporation International and Macquarie AirFinance. Alongside the firm orders these customers and others hold options for around a further 110 aircraft.
For many of these customers the aircraft is likely to be used to replace older generation aircraft but they will also be able to take advantage of the type’s range to push the flight envelope and potentially bring new network options. The type’s excellent short-field performance also means it will be certificated to use short runway and performance impaired airports such as London City and alongside SWISS, start-up Odyssey Airlines has suggested they will also use the aircraft from the Docklands’ facility, even suggesting that it could use them on transatlantic operations.
“The CS100 aircraft provides the extraordinary field performance needed for operations at some very challenging airports, while the CS300 aircraft provides outstanding economics.” said Fred Cromer.