The Bombardier CSeries is a family of narrow body, twin-engined, medium range jet airliners being developed by Bombardier Aerospace. Models are the 110-seat CS100 (previously called the C110), and the 130-seat CS300 (previously called the C130).
Design and development
During the demise of Fokker, Bombardier considered purchasing the company in order to gain access to their Fokker 100 100-seat short-haul aircraft. They eventually decided against a purchase and ended discussions in February 1996, having stated they felt the 100-seat market was too small.
The Bombardier BRJX, or "Bombardier Regional Jet eXpansion", was a project for a larger regional jet than the Canadair Regional Jet. Instead of 2+2 seating, the BRJX was to have a wider fuselage with 2+3 seating, and underwing engine pods. It was projected to seat 80 to 120 passengers, abutting the smallest narrow-body jetliners of the large commercial passenger jets like the 2+3 DC-9/MD-80/Boeing 717 or the 3+3 A318. The project was shelved by Bombardier in favour of stretching the CRJ700 into the CRJ900.
It was not long after that the 80-seat Embraer E-170 came to market, followed by the 110-seat E-195. Both models became best-sellers, and Bombardier had nothing to compete with them at the "high end".
In July 2004, Bombardier announced the development of the CSeries family of airliners to replace the cancelled BRJX project. The CSeries would be larger than the current Canadair Regional Jets, and capable of carrying 110 or 130 passengers. For the first time, Bombardier would be competing directly with the smallest offerings from the much larger Boeing and Airbus companies. At the time, Bombardier expected the aircraft to be available by 2013.
In March 2005, Bombardier's board decided to promote the plane to airlines to gather advance orders. Two models were announced: the 110-seat C110, and the 130-seat C130. The CSeries would feature new, more fuel-efficient engines and a higher percentage of composite materials in its fuselage, a strategy similar to that used in the much larger Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.
The aircraft were designed to seat passengers in a 3+2 arrangement in coach and a 2+2 arrangement in business/first class, similar to the Boeing 717. With the 3+2 arrangement, 80% of the seats would be aisle or window seats, as opposed to 'middle' seats (seats set between two other passenger's seats). The aircraft would have under-wing turbofans. The CSeries' cross-section was designed to give enhanced seating comfort for passengers, with features like broader seats and armrests for the middle passenger and larger windows at every seat to give every passenger the physical and psychological advantages of ample natural light.
The CSeries cabin would also have large, rotating overhead storage bins, a first for single-aisle aircraft, allowing each passenger to stow a sizeable carry-on bag on board. Compared to the cabins of current in-service narrowbody aircraft, the CSeries would provide airlines with the largest overhead bin volume per passenger and a wider aisle that would allow for faster boarding and disembarcation of passengers.
In May 2005, Bombardier secured agreements with the Federal Government of Canada, the Provincial Government of Quebec, and the Government of the United Kingdom for supports and loans for the CSeries project. The Canadian government has committed US$350 million in financing; the British government has committed US$300 million. The fuselage will be built by China Aviation Industry Corp. I (AVIC I). Final assembly of the aircraft was to be at Mirabel Airport, outside Montreal, Quebec. Substantial portions of the aircraft were to be constructed at Bombardier facilities in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Suspension of program
On 31 January 2006, Bombardier announced it would not go forward with plans to develop the CSeries after it failed to secure any significant orders. Bombardier stated they would keep a small team of roughly 50 employees working on the CSeries marketing plan and including other risk sharing partners in the programme. With the CSeries on hold, Bombardier announced on 18 February 2006 that it would begin work on the 100-seat CRJ-1000 regional jet.
Restarting the program
On 31 January 2007, Bombardier announced that work on the aircraft would continue. In November 2007, Bombardier announced that the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan (now PW1000G) would be the exclusive powerplant for the CSeries. Bombardier launched its CSeries aircraft in 2008 for an entry into service in 2013. The CSeries would feature a five-abreast cabin with larger windows and overhead luggage bins.
On 22 February 2008, Bombardier Aerospace announced that its parent company's Board of Directors had granted it the authority to offer formal sales proposals of the CSeries family to airline customers.
On 13 July 2008, in a press conference on the eve of the opening of the Farnborough Airshow, Bombardier Aerospace announced the launch of the CSeries, with a letter of interest for 60 aircraft (including 30 options) from Lufthansa. The final assembly of the aircraft would be done at a new assembly facility to be built beside the existing one where the CRJ700 and CRJ900 are assembled in Mirabel, north of Montreal. The CSeries aircraft will use the Rockwell Collins Pro-Line Fusion avionics suite, an integrated cockpit solution comprised of 15 inch displays, with comprehensive navigation, communications, surveillance, engine indication and crew alerting system (EICAS), and aircraft maintenance systems.
The CSeries is designed for the 100- to 149-seat market category. This market is estimated by Bombardier at 6,300 aircraft representing more than $250 billion revenue over the next 20 years. Bombardier expects to be able to capture up to half of this market with the CSeries, currently projected to enter service in 2013.
Mongolian airline Eznis Airways has a letter of interest for seven CSeries. Qatar Airways had previously been in talks with Bombardier, but broke off talks after disagreeing on terms. An unnamed lessor was understood to be in talks for 40 aircraft.
On the 11 March 2009, Bombardier announced their first firm orders for the CSeries. Lufthansa, who originally had signed a letter of interest for 60 aircraft, firmed up an order for 30. The aircraft will be operated by Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines. Bombardier also announced that the C110 and C130 were being redesignated the CS100 and CS300 respectively. On 30 March 2009, Bombardier inked the second CSeries order, with airliner lessor Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland ordering 3 CS100s and 17 CS300s, becoming the launch customer of the latter.
Published - July 2009
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