Aircraft Will Sport Five-Abreast Seating, P&W Geared
An apparent successor to the once-proud DC-9/MD80/B717 series of
aircraft has been named... and it'll come from Canada.
Confirming earlier reports, Bombardier
announced Friday its Board of Directors has granted authority to
offer formal sales proposals of the CSeries aircraft family to
airline customers. Entry into service is scheduled for 2013.
Authority to offer is the next step in Bombardier's cautious
approach to launching the program. Before requesting program launch
approval from the Bombardier Board of Directors, Bombardier
Aerospace will obtain firm commitments from customers. A launch
decision for the aircraft -- Bombardier's largest offering to date,
and a shot into territory now dominated by US and European
manufacturers -- is expected later this year.
"The CSeries aircraft will benefit from the latest technological
advancements, including: increased use of composites and aluminum
lithium in structures; a next-generation engine -- the Pratt &
Whitney Geared Turbofan; and the very latest in system
technologies, such as fly-by-wire, and fourth-generation
aerodynamics. Together, these advancements will produce up to 20
per cent better fuel burn and up to 15 per cent improved cash
operating costs versus current in-production aircraft of similar
size," said Pierre Beaudoin, President and Chief Operating Officer,
"Our decision to continue refining our business plan over the
last two years has proven to be the right one. It has allowed us to
take advantage of new technologies and to meet the airlines'
evolving requirements for future efficient five-abreast aircraft.
Airlines worldwide have expressed their keen interest to receive
formal sales proposals from us," he added.
"We are delighted that Bombardier's Board of Directors has given
authorization to offer the CSeries aircraft, and we are excited to
partner with Bombardier in discussions with airlines and operators
around the world," said Todd Kallman, President, Pratt &
Whitney Commercial Engines. "The game-changing performance of the
Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine, combined with the new
generation design of the CSeries aircraft, will bring double-digit
improvements in fuel efficiency, environmental emissions, noise and
operating costs to CSeries customers."
Though no airlines to date have officially committed to
the plane -- those announcements will probably come with the
official launch decision -- at least three expressed serious
interest in the CSeries: Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and ILFC.
"Lufthansa's focus is on a sustainable fleet development
providing flexibility for the future. This includes, amongst
others, the assessment of technology, reliability, environmental
footprint, economics and passenger comfort. We are considering the
CSeries family of aircraft in our broader evaluation of
opportunities for the lower end of the single-aisle fleet because
its proposed advantages could be attractive to us," said Nico
Buchholz, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Fleet, Lufthansa.
"The CSeries aircraft's 2013 entry into service date suits us
very well. We envisage an order for 20 aircraft," said Akbar Al
Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Airways.
"We are very interested in the aircraft and have been looking at
the CSeries program very carefully," said Steven F. Udvar-Hazy,
Chairman and CEO/Founder of lessor company International Lease
Finance Corporation. "ILFC is not only considering buying the
aircraft, we could become a co-launch customer.
"However, other major airlines need to sign up to the program as
well. We would like to see a North American, European and possibly
Asian customer," he added.
Bombardier intends for the CSeries to capture half of the lower
end of the 100- to 149-seat market segment, estimated at 5,900
aircraft over the next 20 years. Since the demise of the last
five-abreast airliner, the Boeing 717, that market has been served
by smaller variants of Boeing's 737, and the Airbus A320 family...
which means Bombardier appears to be priming for what looks to be a
very interesting fight.