First production CSeries reveal March 7; BBD sees Russia as ripe market

Bombardier earnings call today:

CSeries: Bombardier will reveal its first production aircraft March 7, the company said on its earnings call today. First year production will be 20-30 aircraft, and up to 120 a year by 3 1/2 years. BBD is still holding to its first flight target by the end of June, EIS of the CS 100 a year later and EIS of the CS300 by the end of 2014. Pratt & Whitney, BBD and Transport Canada announced certification of the GTF 1500G this week. This is the engine that will power the CSeries.

Russia a ripe market: BBD sees Russia as a ripe market for the Q400, CRJ and CSeries. (And for rail, but we don’t cover rail.) Ilyushin Finance yesterday announced it signed a firm order for 32 CSeries and optioned 10 more. This compares with 10+10 announced in an MOU at the Farnborough Air Show last year. On the earnings call, BBD said the Q400 already is operating in Russia and has proved to be a good cold-weather airplane there. CRJ-200s, which have fallen out of favor in the USA, are being remarketed in Russia with success.

American/US Airways, SkyWest and United targets: These three airlines are major targets for RJ sales campaigns this year.

Program Accounting: “Boeing averages the costs over 10 years. We don’t do that. We take the real price and the real cost.”

Unrelated:

Politico has an article on the impact of Sequestration on the air travel industry: long lines at security, delays on the tarmac.

43 comments on “First production CSeries reveal March 7; BBD sees Russia as ripe market

  1. “Boeing averages the costs over 10 years. We don’t do that. We take the real price and the real cost.”

    Ten years ago Bombardier revised its accounting practices to do exactly that. My understanding at the time was that they had adopted the Boeing accounting practices following pressures from business analysts. It looks like I got that wrong.

    So when people say of the Dreamliner that those costs (R&D) are already accounted for, it’s simply not true. Or is it? This is an issue that needs to be developed. I welcome comments from anyone who knows more than I do in regards to accounting rules (they are legions!).

  2. “Bombardier will reveal its first production aircraft March 7.”

    In other words the CSeries rollout ceremony is two weeks from now. That’s two weeks earlier than I expected (Easter). So things must be going quite well I suppose.

  3. From the Bombardier Press Release:

    The CSeries aircraft program development is progressing steadily: the assembly of the first Flight Test Vehicle (FTV1) in Mirabel, Québec, is in the advanced stages with all primary structures now assembled on the aircraft. Key components and systems are in place, namely the wing, landing gear, horizontal/vertical stabilizers, and most recently, the engines as we proceed with ongoing systems installations.

    In February 2013, the engine that will power the CSeries aircraft, Pratt and Whitney’s PW1500 geared-turbofan engine, was awarded Transport Canada certification. These are critical steps in supporting the progressive transfer of FTV1 to the flight test program in the coming weeks. Progress has also been made in the build of the subsequent flight test vehicles which will join FTV1 in the flight test program.

    Additionally, the build for the Complete Airframe Static Test (CAST) article, our aircraft destined for ground testing, was completed in December 2012 followed by the start of the first certification and Safety of Flight tests in February 2013. As well, the Complete Integrated Aircraft Systems Test Area (CIASTA/Aircraft 0) rig was recently upgraded to first flight configuration to allow for formal Safety of Flight testing. The validation process from all the on-the-ground integrated systems tests is progressing as expected.

  4. It is good to see that BBD has gotten another firm order for the C-Series. The C-Series is the airplane Boeing and Airbus are very worried about, as it has the potential to kill off both the B-737-7MAX and the A-319NEO.

    I don’t see why you don’t cover rail, Scott. Both Bombardier Transportation and Boeing-Vertol have rail products, mostly in “light rail” street cars.

      • Aren’t they building a new light rail system in the Sea-Tac area?

        Back on topic, is the PW-1500G the only version of the GTF certified to date?

      • leehamnet :
        “I don’t see why you don’t cover rail”
        I like my car…….

        I have nothing against mine, either, but there are certainly distances I prefer covering by rail, to be honest – even before thinking about environmental issues.
        All of that would of course be much easier if I lived in a country like Germany, France, Japan or even the UK that have a public rail system to speak of. Ireland, though, has more ex-railway lines (one just 100 metres from our home; now converted to a public walkway) than active ones.

    • Boeing Vertol LRV is a 70ties product, cite from WP:EN :
      “From their earliest days of service, the LRV was prone to numerous problems including, but not limited to; …” ;-)

      Bombardier offers full spectrum rail products (Light Rail to High Speed Trains ) quite competitive in the internal market.

  5. Is it possible for Bombardier to offer a new plane for this three sales campaigns ? Not the RJ but a new Q500 with 100 seats or a new CS75 to compete EMB ? For CS75, is it realist ? Impossible ? Why ?

    • A CS75 would be an uber dog. The wing is way too big, even for the current CS100. It’s sized more for a CS500, and the fuselage is configured for growth as well, not a shrink. A CS75 would be massively overweight. Besides, look how well the E170 has sold, and the CRJ700. The E170 isn’t even going to be included in the upgrade program. The CRJ family is about at the end of its run. It’s been a good run for the CL600, and BBD has done a really good job with making derivatives of Bill Lear’s “fat little airplane”.

      • Howie is right, of course, as we can tell y’all that BBD isn’t working on a “CS75.” If anything, it would go the other direction. As readers know, it has a CS300HD (High Density) model already. All this talk of a CS75 is wasted effort.

    • They would be MUCH better off to re-engine the CRJ with the Passport engine. It would be easy, cheap and deliver excellent fuel burn. In short segments most people don’t care about the slightly lower comfort of CSeries.

  6. Bombardier is too busy at the moment to launch the widely expected Q500. They have to deal with the CSeries, Learjet 75 and Global 7000/8000, all at the same time. A new airplane model at this time would tax their engineering capacity and cash reserves.

    BBD is in a position to let ATR make the first move; and depending on how the ATR 100 turns out to be, they can adjust the Q500 design accordingly.

    The CS75 would be an extremely comfortable regional aircraft. But it would be uneconomical to operate because it would be too heavy for the corresponding payload (CASM). A concept similar to the equally unsuccessful Airbus A318.

    And besides, it would be extremely costly to develop, with no appreciable ROI whatsoever. And worst of all, it would compete directly with the existing CRJ700/900.

    • I totally respect your knowledge and opinion but don’t you think the operator who wants to fly all first class transatlantic from London City with a special duty CS100 is kind of buying a CS 75+ plane and doing it better than the A318? Are there other geographical missions of similar length that could fill a business class plane like this as well?

      • From London City, the difference between the A318 and the CS100 is that the former needs a stopover at Shannon, the latter does not.

    • BBDs main problem is that Q series probably won’t last long enough in the market to let BBD get time to do a 90 seater. Backlog is low, production is still insanely high, and if they don’t get out and sell sell sell, they will quickly run out of backlog. By their own reckoning in less than 2 years.

    • After viewing the most recent picture, I think I might have been wrong about the dating of the Ilyushin picture. And it looks like the timing of the announcement had little impact on the BBD shares, which took a 9% nose dive today following the disappointing 4th quarter results.

  7. Mirabel :
    Don’t you think the operator who wants to fly all first class transatlantic from London City with a special duty CS100 is kind of buying a CS 75+ plane and doing it better than the A318? Are there other geographical missions of similar length that could fill a business class plane like this as well?

    What I have in mind for that mission is the CS300XT. That is a CS100 airframe equipped with CS300 engines. An ideal match for London City. With 75 First Class passengers I guess it could be dubbed the CS75, if you see it that way.

    There is definitely a market for a high performance airplane like that. London City is only one example where the CSeries can beat the A318 hands down. Hot weather, high altitude, or a combination of both, are all different missions for which the CSeries has practically no rival.

    Because of the way the CSeries was conceived, and the choices that were made, there is a tremendous potential to exploit from that platform.

    • They have the same engine. The only difference is the thrust rating plug. PW1500G is certified to 24 klbf (if my mind serves me right), de-rated as needed. That is the only engine for the C-series, the other engines in the PW1000G family have other mounting structures (to match their respective applications).

      • Yes that’s true. I just checked the data I have on file and I can confirm what you say. Thanks for pointing this out. I read somewhere of a CS100 airframe with PW1524 engines for high performance takeoffs; but that might have been an earlier concept, or simply a misinterpretation of what the CS300XT really is. Maybe I should write “really was”, because I don’t hear much about that variant anymore.

      • @ mneja

        Does it mean that except for the de-rating specific to each variant, the CS100 and CS300 would otherwise have identical engines?

      • Yup, I think so. Maybe not exactly identical, I do not have have 100% knowledge of all details, but I’d be extremely suprised if anything of importance differed.

        • @ mneja and aeroturbopower

          It it possible for a customer to order say a CS100 or CS300 and specify the power required for it’s own operations, as long as it remains above the standard specifications and certification requirements? In other words to minimize derating on any variant of the CS100 and CS300 to adjust the power to fit specific requirements like runway lengths, operational temperatures, operational altitudes, etc.

  8. “BBD is in a position to let ATR make the first move; and depending on how the ATR 100 turns out to be, they can adjust the Q500 design accordingly.”

    Normand I guess BBD engineers don’t need to see the ATR fly to know how it will perform. The estimations will be good enough. They also know the narrow Q400 fuselage can’t be stretched efficiently. E.g the ATR will have a usefull cargo belly deck for luggage e.g. The Q400 doesn’t and is significantly more expensive/ less efficient then e.g the ATR72-600 that beat it in recent years.

    BDD will need something else to compete with ATR.

    • Actually, I think they’ll just exit that business. Sell the Qs to the Chinese, Indians, or Koreans. BBD was noted in the press as having made overtures to the Koreans last year.

    • The Q is not less efficient them the ATR.. when it flies at ATR speeds it is about the same. Of course if you are gonna do that, why spend the $$ for the big engines on the Q. If you don’t need the higher speed, why spend the money on such a powerful and fast plane. It all comes down to selling the Q to the right places. Airlines that need the field performance and speed will buy Q, those that do not will buy ATR.

      • ATR says (so take it for what it’s worth) that the ATR is about 20% better fuel burn than an Q400. Even if you say they are lying by half, they still beat the pants off the Q. Which is patently obvious in the backlog for the two aircraft.

  9. I think the overtures to the Koreans are to be risk sharing partners with the 90 seat stretch of the Q. Personally I think it would be a great partnership. If they also update the Q with Cseries flightdeck…(not sure if it is possible or prohitive cost wise since the Q is not FBW.) that would be a WOW!!! I think a 90 seat (configured with 76 seat for US scope clauses would be a game changer.

  10. keesje :
    BDD will need something else to compete with ATR.

    Yes I agree with that statement. But BBD is not in position right now to launch a new model. So they can wait to see what ATR will do. For example, when will ATR get the ATO? Will they design a composite wing or not? What engine will they select? What will be the range? How many passengers will it carry? How will the potential customers react?

    If Embraer is pondering whether it should re-enter the turboprop market, I think BBD can contemplate a brand new design as well. Let’s face it, the TP market is not going to disappear anytime soon.

    Like you say, BBD will need something else. That something else could very well be a wider Al-Li fuselage, composite wings/empennage and a new generation P&W engines.

    The question is who is going to blink first, ATR, BBD or Embraer? If I was EADS I would give the ATO as soon as possible. If I was BBD I would wait. If I was Embraer I would stay out.

  11. Mark Jhorr (@mnztr1) :
    The Q is not less efficient them the ATR.. when it flies at ATR speeds it is about the same.

    As the price of fuel goes up BBD might have to rethink its strategy and marketing effort. The original de Havilland aircraft was a great design in its day. But ATR has improved on the concept and now reaps the benefits. Sooner or later BBD will have to abandoned the legacy airframe. Not only the one inherited from the de Havilland, but also the one from Canadair.

    Comparing the ATR to the Q is like comparing the E-Jet to the CRJ, or the A320 to the 737. In each case we have a legacy airframe surpassed by a more modern one which was inspired from it.

  12. Looking at the new BBD, Embraer developments they seem to indeed move up. Embraer 100-130 seats, Bombardier 120-150 seats.

    That opens up the segment 70-100 seats. I wonder who will dominate that. ATR with its big prop, Mitsubishi’s MRJ?

    Would be great if the US industry could somehow jump in to produce an aircraft unbeatable 70-100 seats, fast, quick turn arounds, low costs, up to 1500NM.. Dreaming I guess. Asia?

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