Sorry, Kansas City: Plane Will Be Built In Mirabel
Sunday its Board of Directors has granted approval for the launch
of the CSeries family of five-abreast commercial airliners,
intended to offer airlines superior economics, performance,
environmental and passenger-oriented improvements for the next
Entry into service is scheduled for 2013. German carrier
Lufthansa will be the aircraft's launch customer, signing a
60-plane Letter of Intent that includes 30 options.
"Today is a great day for Bombardier, our customers, our
employees, our shareholders and our suppliers," said Pierre
Beaudoin, Bombardier President and CEO during a press event at the
Farnborough International Airshow. "I am proud to say that we have
met our business plan objectives: a technologically advanced
aircraft family, a strong pipeline of orders and repayable
investments with governments and agreements with key suppliers.
With the latest in system technologies and aerodynamics, the
CSeries family of aircraft will revolutionize the economics and
network strategies for airline operations in the 100- to 149-seat
commercial market. It is another example of our commitment to
designing and manufacturing innovative aircraft that will ensure
our continued industry leadership."
"At Lufthansa, we are committed to a balance between commercial
success, environment and business policies oriented toward
sustainability," added Nico Buchholz, Senior Vice President,
Corporate Fleet, Lufthansa. "Our initial evaluations of the CSeries
family of aircraft and discussions with Bombardier over the last
few months have evolved and made us believe that the CSeries family
of aircraft clearly meets our stringent requirements for
sustainable fleet development, both in terms of environmental and
commercial requirements, and flexibility for the future. We are
proud to be a part of its launch."
Bombardier received formal approval from its Board to offer
the plane for sale in February, falling just short of
officially launching the program. To be powered by the Pratt &
Whitney Geared Turbofan, the CSeries is intended to plug a gap in
the 100-149-seat segment left by the retirement of Douglas DC-9s
and older MD-series airliners... and do it much more efficiently
than those planes.
The planemaker estimates the need for some 5,900 aircraft
fitting the CSeries's template 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.
Bombardier also used its pre-opening-day press event to announce
the selection of Mirabel as the final assembly location for the
CSeries. The city of Kansas City, MO was also technically in the
running for the assembly facility, though in May state lawmakers
scaled back the incentive program meant to lure the planemaker
there, making the Mirabel choice all-but-inevitable.
"The final assembly facility will be located in Mirabel, in the
greater Montreal area, thus ensuring Bombardier's access to a
skilled aerospace workforce and to an established aerospace
education system," said Guy C. Hachey, President and Chief
Operating Officer, Bombardier Aerospace. "Additionally, the
manufacture of the aircraft's aft fuselage and cockpit will take
place at our Saint-Laurent facility, near our new product
development centre, home to the growing CSeries team."
Bombardier's facility in Belfast, Ireland will be home to the
design and manufacture of the CSeries aircraft wings.
Bombardier says it received offers of repayable investments from
the governments of Canada and Quebec, as well as Northern Ireland
and British Government Departments to have CSeries work performed
in those respective countries. The total repayable investments will
cover approximately one-third of the expected R&D costs, with
Bombardier and key suppliers each chipping in 1/3 as well.
"The CSeries aircraft program is a compelling business proposal
for both Canada and Quebec as well as Northern Ireland and British
Government Departments. It involves, among other things, the
development of new technology, creation of employment and further
consolidation of Canada's leadership in the aerospace industry. Our
partners, including governments and suppliers, will benefit from
the program's success," added Hachey.