Archive For The “CSeries” Category
Airbus will be the white knight to rescue the C Series through a joint venture with Bombardier, announced earlier today. The agreement will include a second assembly line in Mobile, Alabama to produce C Series aircraft for the US market. As additional details are released, we will provide more information as events ensue. But there are several key implications that are quite clear:
The production of the C Series in the US will effectively kill Boeing’s trade complaint against Bombardier, and enable Delta to take delivery of its 75 CS100 models on order from the Mobile assembly line.
The C Series also provides Airbus with an all-new narrow-body platform that has the potential to dominate the 100-150 seat market, as Boeing lacks a viable competing aircraft in this segment. This will increase Airbus dominance in narrow-body aircraft over Boeing.
Embraer will be facing a much more formidable competitor in the combination with Airbus than Bombardier itself and may be forced to move closer to Boeing with its E2 product line, which would fill a product line gap for Boeing. Could another joint venture be forthcoming as a result of this deal?
China has lost an opportunity to rapidly acquire a technologically advanced platform and the opportunity to spur its aerospace expertise. The C Series would also have been complimentary to the C919 program at COMAC, are could have provided them an instant acquisition of advanced capabilities.
As this story continues to unfold, we will look behind the headlines to discuss the implications of the transaction and likely impacts on competition, the supply chain, and other industry players.
The Bottom Line: The joint venture between Airbus and Bombardier for the C Series changes the competitive dynamics for narrow-body aircraft, and will make a 737 replacement even more critical for Boeing. The dynamics and timing of new aircraft programs in Seattle may need to be re-aligned to the new competitive realities.
We had the opportunity to speak with Rob Dewar, Vice President and General Manager, CSeries Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft after the initial CSeries operations at London City Airport earlier today.
AirInsight: Thanks for being with us today. Rob, the approach at LCY is quite steep. What were the requirements that the CSeries needed to demonstrate to gain access to this relatively short 4,900 ft. runway?
Rob Dewar: Basically, London city has a short runway, and more importantly a very steep approach. Normal approaches are at 3 degrees, and LCY is 5.5 degrees, We had to demonstrate a 7.5 degree approach to obtain approval for landing at LCY. Because the CS100 has very low drag, we had to utilize several elements to manage the descent rate. These include going to minimum idle with the engine to generate additional drag. We also have a special flap setting – flap 5 – and modify the fly-by-wire control laws to enable a larger deflection of the spoilers to further increase drag during a steep descent.
The CS100 is the largest aircraft, with the most capability, to operate out of that airport. The wingspan limit is 115 feet to provide clearance from infrastructure, mostly the space between gates, which is quite limited. We also need to do a u-turn on the runway, so the landing gear had to be designed for that during our initial design phase.
We have a pilot selectable steep-approach option that enables a different set of control laws to be employed, as in normal mode an approach that steep would result in the systems requesting corrective action. Swiss, our launch customer, also requested dual HUDs with runway guidance built-in to assist their pilots in following the proper approach angle.
In addition to the aircraft, all pilots into LCY also require special training and qualification. The steep approach capabilities are standard on all CS100 models, which are approved for LCY. There have as yet been no customer requests for the CS300 to be so certified, and there are currently no plans in place, given the large step change in size and range from existing smaller aircraft using LCY to the larger CS100.
AirInsight: The CSeries was designed with an eye towards city-center airports such as London City, Stockholm Bromma, and Toronto Billy Bishop. What factors were specifically included in designing the aircraft for these, and other urban airport applications?
Rob Dewar: There are a number of key points we included when designing the aircraft. The first is having the required performance, since many airports are smaller and more restricted, with obstacles to climb over or mountains. Florence and Aspen are good examples. We performed a worldwide study of challenging airports, including high altitude airports like Lhasa in Tibet to determine what we would need for take-off and landing performance requirements.
Two keys emerged, one is having a small enough aircraft to fit within the existing infrastructure, and the second the need to have an environmental footprint suitable for a city center operation – noise and emissions needed to be a step change improvement from existing aircraft. The CSeries has a fourfold decrease in noise, and a lot of the people nearby LCY will also soon begin to appreciate it.
AirInsight:. With CSeries performance exceeding the original specifications, the combination of short-field capability and long-range performance enable the CSeries to do things that no other commercial aircraft is capable of performing. What other challenging airports and locales would be ideal for the CSeries combination of performance and environmental stewardship?
Rob Dewar: There are many potential airports beyond London City. Toronto Billy Bishop, Florence, Italy, are challenging short fields and Lhasa in Tibet is a hot, high altitude airport that requires exceptional performance. The CSeries has the capability to fly Lhasa to Beijing and Shanghai non-stop with a full load, the only aircraft of its size with that capability. Aspen is also a critical route for high, hot performance. Because so few aircraft can fly them, many of these routes have exceptionally high yields and can demand a revenue premium. The CSeries is an ideal solution to optimize traffic and yields.
One unique capability is the ability to fly direct from smaller city center airports for long-range routes, without the need to stop and change aircraft at a major hub. We’ve already published an improvement to our initial specification on certification, and based on in-service performance that is better than what we published, we will be upgrading our specifications again in the fall, with lower fuel burn and increased range. There is a lot of good news that we’re seeing from the aircraft already in-service.
AirInsight: We understand that dispatch reliability is better than expected at both SWISS and airBaltic, and both carriers are pleased with the aircraft. Is there any feedback on in-service performance you can share?
Rob Dewar: To date, the in-service performance in terms of initial reliability is exceeding expectations. In terms of passenger acceptance, the reception has been quite favorable. SWISS has done a number of surveys with their Platinum frequent flyer members, and have received very favorable feedback on the cabin experience, including cabin comfort, the reduced noise level compared to other aircraft, and the large bins to accommodate larger carry-on bags. We’re pleased with what we’re hearing.
AirInsight: Thanks for taking the time to be with us on an important milestone day for the program.
SWISS today completed its first flight from Zurich to London City Airport with the Bombardier CS100 aircraft, which is now the largest and longest-range aircraft to serve this aircraft close to London’s financial district.
The following infographic from Bombardier illustrates the 5.5 degree steep approach to the small 4,900 ft. landing strip at LCY.
“We are proud to see the C Series aircraft in SWISS livery landing at London City Airport for the first time. This new milestone continues the momentum propelling the C Series aircraft program,” said Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The CS100 aircraft has the perfect combination of steep approach and short field capability as well as longer range. These attributes provide airlines with the opportunity to reach new markets from London City Airport and other challenging airports around the globe, generating an increased level of interest in the C Series program.”
“As part of our fleet modernization plan, we are gradually replacing the Avro aircraft with the C Series and today, we start with our CS100 flight operations from Zurich to London City as the world’s first airline. We are excited to offer our guests the benefits of the C Series such as more comfort on this important route,” said Peter Koch, C Series Fleet Chief, SWISS.
The exceptional range of the CSeries is illustrated in this infographic from Bombardier. This enables the CS100 to serve markets that other aircraft simply cannot, opening LCY to more than 115 potential new destinations that are currently not served on a non-stop basis.
As an airport within a city, environmental and noise concerns are critical. The CSeries is the quietest aircraft in its class, and has the lowest carbon emissions in its class as well. The environmental aspects of this aircraft make it ideal for close-in airports, whether in London City, or Stockholm Bromma, or other “downtown” airports.
The Bottom Line:
London City Airport is known as a challenging airport for which special requirements need to be met to qualify for landing. The CS100 easily passed all of those requirements, and SWISS is now exploiting the advantages of operating the largest,longest-range, most efficient, and most environmentally friendly aircraft that can currently serve LCY.
The airline’s PR team sent out a notification that today, on July 21, 2017, the airline set a new world record as its newest CS300 turnaround for the first commercial flight took only 50 minutes after delivery.
The sixth airBaltic CS300, registered as YL-CSF, arrived in Riga on July 21, 2017 at 11:15, Riga time. The flight time was 7 hours and 25 minutes and the aircraft covered 6,470 km non-stop distance between Mirabel and Riga. At 12:06 Riga time YL-CSF’s turnaround was completed and the aircraft departed on its first commercial flight BT641 to Zurich at 12:17. It is the first time that a turnaround for an inaugural CS300 commercial flight has been carried out so promptly.
airBaltic has completed more than 2,160 scheduled flights and flown over 5,520 block hours with their CS300 fleet. In total, the airline has carried over 245,100 passengers on their CS300s.
This is a pretty interesting statistic and one we have not seen before. The gauntlet has now been thrown. Other OEMs will now respond with their own quick turnaround after delivery. Since airBaltic is going to get another 14 CS300s delivered, they too will be pushing that 50-minute number lower if they can. Isn’t this a great industry?
Mr Gauss is CEO of airBaltic. A lot of people want to speak with Mr Gauss so we had to be focused. We asked two questions in a short conversation on the sideline of the show today.
- What one word would you use to describe your view of the CSeries? His response was he would prefer two words – Exceeds Expectations. But if we insisted on one, it would be Exceed.
- Next question was regarding Mr Gauss’ comments on being in the market for more aircraft – what are the three most important selection criteria? He responded, economics, commonality and passenger comfort. He went on the discuss these in more detail. If both types under consideration were equal in economics, he’d go to commonality. If that were also equal, he’d go to passenger comfort.
Mr Gauss explained that they removed two rows of seats on the CS300 as an experiment to see how they could add legroom and it worked well. On the six hour leg from Riga to Dubai he thinks they may need to do this to give people a bit more room.
airBaltic is likely to keep disrupting markets wherever they go. The CS300 allows them to compete with Ryanair and easyJet because the CS300 is so much lighter and can sell out faster. The CS300 offers great revenue and cost benefits. We got the distinct impression he would take every CS300 he could get his hands on.
One interesting piece of insight Mr Gauss offered: Don’t worry about the P&W engine. It will be forgotten in three years. He noted nobody talks about 787s and batteries anymore. He expects the same to happen with the GTF. Besides, he noted, everybody wants their 787 today and is unconcerned about batteries.
Bombardier’s CSeries has been performing better than expected after entry into service with the CS100 at Swiss nearly a year ago and the CS300 at AirBaltic. Both carriers report that the fuel burn for the aircraft is lower than anticipated. With consistent results across a larger fleet, Bombardier is now in the process of analyzing data to determine whether it should change its specifications.
Fred Cromer, Bombardier’s President for commercial aircraft, is optimistic as operators continue to provide positive feedback on aircraft performance. “The interest level in the airplane continues to grow. The reputation of the aircraft, and its entry into service, has started to become known throughout the industry.”
Bombardier expects to deliver 30-35 CSeries aircraft in 2017, with production growing to 10 per month by 2020. While delivery issues with the PW1500G engines reduced planned deliveries last year, the company believes it will meet its 2017 delivery guidance. To date, Bombardier delivered 7 CSeries jets in 2016 and additional 7 so fare in 2017. Cromer was positive about the ramp-up in the second half of the year, indicating that the ramp up plan was manageable, including Pratt & Whitney.
With lower than expected fuel burn, the PW1500G is delivering on its promises right out of the box. While issues have occurred with combustor liners on both the CSeries and A320neo versions, a replacement combustor liner will be provided to customers to update the expected life of that component. Despite these issues, there have been minimal incidents with the GTF for CSeries, and “entry into service experience for Swiss and AirBaltic has been outstanding.”