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'C-ing' is believing

With a clean-sheet design aimed at the 100-150 seat segment, Bombardier’s C Series family is slated to compete with Airbus and Boeing, as well as Embraer. Stephanie Taylor evaluates how the programme has been faring since commercial operations began
 

It has been just over a year since the CS100’s entry into service, albeit after over two years’ worth of delays. Launch customer SWISS has been operating the type since July 2016, and in May 2017 became the first airline to operate both aircraft in BombardierC Series family with the delivery of its first CS300. 

 

While it is too early for SWISS to comment on CS300 operations, the airline’s C Series Fleet Chief, Peter Koch, says pilots have a lot of praise for the aircraft and how intuitive it is to fly (it has 99% parts commonality and the same pilot type rating at the CS100).

 

The larger CS300 hasnt been in service as long as its sister ship, completing its first commercial flight with airBaltic in December 2016. Nonetheless, airBaltic is already impressed with the CS300s noise footprint, which Alise Briede, the carriers Head of Corporate Communications, says is approximately four times smaller than with airBaltic’s previous aircraft. 

 

This figure is in-keeping with Pratt & Whitney’s claim that the C Series’ PW1500G Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine enables a 75% noise footprint reduction compared to older engine types. For this reason, C Series aircraft have been given the nickname of ‘whisper jet’.

 

And the good news keeps on coming for Bombardier. A SWISS CS100 officially completed its first revenue flight into London City Airport from the airline’s main hub in Zurich in early August. The last commercial SWISS Avro RJ100 flight took place from Zurich to London City and back on 14 August, and now the CS100 will operate exclusively on the route, which takes place up to six times-daily. SWISS is also planning to operate a CS100 into London City from Geneva as of summer 2018.

 

Bombardier claims the CS100 is the largest passenger aircraft certified to operate from London City Airport. “Since London City is a proxy for challenging airports around the world, obtaining this certification certainly raised the airline interest level across all regions,” comments Rob Dewar, Vice President of the C Series Aircraft Program at Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

 

As part of an ongoing fleet renewal, SWISS is replacing its Avro RJs with C Series jetliners and, on 15 August, removed the last of its 21 Avro RJ100 aircraft from flight operations.

 

airBaltic does intend to make use of the C Series’ longer range. From the end of October 2017, the airline will introduce a four times-weekly service between Riga and Abu Dhabi using a CS300 with Etihad Airways as a codeshare partner. The flight is scheduled to last six hours and 15 minutes. 

 

When the route was announced, airBaltics Chief Executive Officer, Martin Gauss, said, “We are delighted to link Latvia and the UAE with our brand-new Bombardier CS300s that fly longer distances and reach airports that we were not able to serve with our fleet before.” 

 

airBaltic has calculated that the introduction of the CS300 to its fleet has allowed the airline to launch 12 new routes so far in 2017, and increased the number of tickets available for the summer season by 15%.


The CS300 can accommodate up to 160 passengers, but airBaltic opted for a 145-seat configuration. 

 

In total, airBaltic has already carried more than 300,000 passengers on its CS300 aircraft across more than 2,600 scheduled flights and over 6,700 block hours. Today, it is in use on routes to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, Moscow, London, Paris, Vienna, Athens, Madrid and others. >>


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