Bombardier of Canada has been struggling with it CSeries for years, but herhaps no more since Delta ordered 75 aircraft in April and especially since Air Canada has just finalized its previously announced agreement to buy at least 45 new CS300 airliners, with options on another 30 of the same type.
Alain Bellemare, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bombardier formulated it like this: “This order is a major statement of support for Canada’s aerospace industry and will help support thousands of C Series related jobs. It also serves as an important catalyst for renewed interest and subsequent orders.”
While developing the new aircraft, Bombardier hit serious financial difficulties – with even the tests of the new CS series hit by delays and other issues. But the finalization of the Air Canada deal brings hope to a healthy aviation industry with the Maple Leaf flag in top.
Bombardier has at least 288 firm orders for the CS100 and the larger CS300, with Swiss being the launch customer this year. Deliveries to Air Canada are scheduled to begin in late 2019 and extend to 2022. The order is worth 3.8 billion US dollars.
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has started a European route-proving exercise for it CSeries CS100 airliner. The month-long program is underway with a dedicated CS100 route-proving aircraft operated by Bombardier and destined for launch operator Swiss International Air Lines’ base in Zurich, Switzerland.
The route-proving exercises are scheduled to include main European cities such a Brussels, Vienna and Warsaw. The European route-proving program is being conducted as the Swiss airline readies for the CS100 aircraft’s entry-into-service . The company’s first CS100 aircraft is scheduled to be delivered by Bombardier in mid 2016.
The European route-proving program follows one conducted last year across North America that included more than 35 cities. The CS100 aircraft will conduct route-proving flights using typical airline flight routings and operational procedures. The flights give a good indication of how the CSeries performs in a typical airline schedule to and from different airports. Airfield performance, landings, airport turnarounds and on-ground operations are some of the important characteristics that will be observed.
Also, the last of eight flight test vehicles – the second CS300 aircraft – successfully entered the flight test program in Mirabel, Québec last week.
Air Canada and Bombardier have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the purchase of 75 CS300 airliners, marking a major breakthrough for Bombardier and its troubled CSeries program. A firm order is worth an estimated 3.8 billion USD.
The preliminary agreement covers 45 orders and options for another 30 aircraft. Deliveries should start in 2019. The CS300 is currently involved in verification flights for type certification, something the smaller CS100 already achieved late last year, although that process was delayed due to various issues during development and flight testing. The CS300 should be certified within months.
The first of the CSeries is to be delivered to Swiss in the first half of 2016. The Swiss airline acted as launch customer for the type, with interest elsewhere much lower than anticipated. The financial difficulties Bombardier experienced over the last few years, didn’t help in gaining the trust of potential customers.
The interest from Air Canada is not a huge suprise though. The Quebec government already invested 1 billion dollars in Bombardier in the hope to preserve jobs and Canada’s aviation industry altogether. Bombardier states it now bagged 678 total orders and commitments for the CSeries, 243 of which are firm orders
Meanwhile, in trying to save costs Bombardier also announced it cuts thousands of jobs in other divisions while hiring new staff for CSeries production.
Canada has issued a Transport Canada Type Certification to Bombardier’s new CS100 CSeries aircraft, the company reported on Friday 18 December.
The certification is the result of a comprehensive and rigorous testing program, which included more than 3,000 flight test hours and the validation of thousands of test results. The result paves the way for the delivery and entry into service of the CS100 with first launch customer SWISS in the first half of 2016.
Certification is the second major scoop for Bombardier and its CSeries, following the type’s international trade show debut during the Paris Air Show in June. Both follow a development and test phase that was marked by delays. Also, the CS100 is falling behind in sales, with Bombardier to no avail trying to get Airbus involved on the program.
The Canadians are now reportedly looking for a business partner in China, and have also asked the Canadian government for a cash injection. Meanwhile, certification for the larger CS300 is expected within the next six months.
Bombardier announced on Wednesday 14 October that its CS100 aircraft has completed over 90 per cent of the certification program. The company also confirmed that production ramp-up is underway, including the first aircraft for launch customer Swiss. The message comes after last week’s news of unsuccessful talks between Bombardier and Airbus.
Bombardier says the CS100 is now in the final stage of flight tests, which will include a few weeks of function and reliability tests. The flights are to be conducted using typical airline flight routings plus operational procedures, and will include about 15 representative airports in Canada and 20 in the US.
Recently, Bombardier announced it had completed all noise performance testing and data is said to confirm it is the quietest in-production commercial jet in its class. The CS100 and CS300 saw their international airshow debut earlier this year in Paris.
The program remains troubled however, since development was severly delayed and orders fall behind. Airbus last week confirmed it had been in talks with Bombardier, but these talks – presumably about cooperation on the marketing and development front – remained just that; talks. To bring the CSeries back on track, Bombardier may also very well look in China for potential partners.