The launch customer for the long-awaited C Series airliner from Bombardier Aerospace, SWISS, has revealed it will launch scheduled passenger flights with the type from the third quarter of this year after receiving its first aircraft in late June 2016. The European flag carrier will place the CS100 into service on flight LX638 from Zurich to Paris Charles de Gaulle on July 15, 2016 before introducing the type across a number of European markets.
SWISS confirms that in addition to Paris, Manchester, Prague and Budapest will also be among the first SWISS destinations to receive CS100 service. They will be followed by Warsaw and Brussels at the end of August, and by Nice, Stuttgart, Hanover, Milan, Florence and Bucharest in September. And more and more destinations will gradually be switched to C Series operation as the new twinjets arrive.
We can reveal that in addition to this markets outlined by SWISS, the type will also be used on routes from Zurich to Venice (from September 11, 2016), Birmingham (from October 30, 2016) and Luxembourg (from October 30, 2016), while it will also be deployed on Zurich – Geneva domestic sector during the winter 2016/2017 schedule. You can see the full initial schedule plans for the CSeries in our Airline Route post here.
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.
This includes operation into London City Airport in the UK, a facility with restricted aircraft operations due its short runway and location in London’s inner-city Docklands area. SWISS anticipates the aircraft making its debut in the Zurich – London City market from the first quarter of 2017.
SWISS will also operate the CS300 variant of the CSeries having switched ten of its 30 firm-ordered CS100s to the larger aircraft at the Paris Air Show last year. 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.”
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 want they consider 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.
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.
The programme had struggled to secure new sales but received a major filip in February 2016 when Air Canada announced an intention to acquire up to 75 aircraft. US carrier Delta Air Lines is also reported to be close to a major order of the type, but remains tight-lipped over its plans.
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.