Bombardier CSeries delays have little impact vs competitors

Bombardier’s third CSeries Flight Test Vehicle finally became airborne March 3. FTV 3 focuses on avionics. FTV 4 will focus on the testing of the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan engine; Bombardier hasn’t announced a date when this airplane will join the test program.

Bombardier’s rescheduled flight test schedule, reflecting a 9-15 month additional delay to entry-into-service (now the second half of 2015), hasn’t been publicly detailed. BBD presents to the International Society of Transport Aircraft Traders (ISTAT) at its annual US meeting this week in San Diego, and there is an investors day later in the week. We expect one or both venues to provide program updates.

The new EIS narrows the gap between the CSeries and its competitors, the Airbus A319neo, the Embraer E-190/195 E2 and the Boeing 737-7 MAX. But the impact isn’t significant, in our view. Airbus’ A319neo—the direct competitor to the CS300—was to be the first of the re-engined challengers to the new-design CS300 with an EIS originally set for the first quarter of 2016 (six months after the A320neo EIS of October 2015). But Qatar Airways, the launch customer of the A319neo, dropped this order in favor of the larger A320neo. The A319neo EIS is now slated for the second half of 2017, for Avianca Airlines.

EIS 100-149


This means the original two-year gap between the CS300 and the A319neo remains the same, assuming no additional delays for the CSeries and none for the A319neo.

Parenthetically, we are unsure if Frontier Airlines will take its order for 20 A319neos, with first delivery scheduled in 2018. When we talked with CEO David Siegel two years ago, he expressed doubts about taking the airplane, preferring the larger A320 sibling. The only other announced customer is Avianca, with a firm order for nine. Will Avianca ultimately take the A319neo, particularly if Frontier swaps its order? We have our doubts. There is an unannounced customer for the A319neo for eight, according to the Ascend data base, but delivery dates currently are listed as “2500.”

The Embraer E-190 E2 nominally competes with the CS100; it’s barely within the 100-125 seat category in a one-class configuration, while the CS100 is comfortably within this sector. In two classes, the E-190 E2 is an 88 seat aircraft and the CS100 is 100 seats. The CS100 also has more range; arguably these are different classes of aircraft.

The E-195 E2 nominally competes with the CS-300. In one class, the E-195 E2 is a 132 seat airplane, but the CS-300 carriers 145-149 passengers, and as with the CS-100 has longer range. The E-195 E2 is a more direct competitor with the CS-100, but range is shorter and missions may be somewhat different. The EIS for the CSeries vs the E2s still has a gap of 2 ½-3 ½ years, assuming no delays to either program based on the currently announced schedules.

The 737-7 MAX EIS is slated for 2019, about four years after the CS-300.

Thus, we see little impact to Bombardier’s delay from a practical standpoint.

Despite the additional delay, Bombardier hasn’t yet updated its expectations for firm orders and customer numbers. It’s still reporting its goal to have 300 firm orders and 20-30 customers by EIS (previously fall of 2014). Moving the EIS to the right by 9-15 months should implicitly infer higher numbers. Perhaps new targets will be revealed in the program update this week.

12 Comments on “Bombardier CSeries delays have little impact vs competitors

  1. The A319NEO is attractive for niche airlines, and as corporate jet. It has slightly less empty weight (~2t), and usually ~15-20 passengers less. That translates into 500nm more range, and may open some routes (I would assume up to 4000nm range with low density cabin, high MTOW and additional belly tanks). For classic short range traffic, the A320 appears the better solution.

  2. The 737-7 MAX EIS is slated for 2019, about four years after the CS-300.

    Probably worth pointing out that it hasn’t gained a single order yet. So as things look right now, the A319neo’s order book is shaky at best, while the 737-7MAX’s is non-existent. Which is good news for the CSeries, in my view.

    • Check your facts first, then post.
      Here I am, correcting myself: 737-7 order book is at 55, according to
      Boeing unfortunately doesn’t break MAX orders up by sub-type in its order overviews.

      Still – with the incumbents in this size class racking up fewer than 100 orders between them, I think it’s good news for the CSeries.

      • Have you seen the order book for the Airbus neo and the next gen Embraer e2? This was done with single airshows not 6 years.John Leahy had a point when he said he would sink Bombardier’s business case.the big winner…..Pratt &Whitney

        • I have seen Embraer’s order book, and I think Embraer is a bigger threat to the CSeries than Airbus or Boeing. Having said that, the CSeries is larger, as Scott also points out above.

          Regarding John Leahy, I don’t think he has a point here, and I don’t think his order book backs him up here, either.
          According to the A319neo has 45 orders (many of them shaky), and the 737-7 55.
          So between them, these two sub-types have less than half of the CSeries’ orders. This is telling, considering they’re effectively the incumbent in this size category, and their bigger siblings, A320neo/A321neo and 737-8/-9, have 2622 and 1752 orders, respectively.

  3. FTV4 is an especially important flight test vehicle since it is dedicated to engine performance. Many customers are awaiting for precise engine data before committing to the CSeries. But this appears to be only a matter of weeks now before we can find out more about engine performance.

    I am more concerned by the level of readiness of FTV5. Since it is the first flight test vehicle to be outfitted with a full passenger interior it is expected to show up at various air shows around the world. But Farnborough is fast approaching and FTV5 might not be ready to fly there in time.

    The CSeries programme had been running on a tight schedule until recently. But the forced delay and the associated extension of the flight test schedule will bring some relief to many individuals associated with testing and production. Unfortunately it will also subtract to the lead Bombardier had. It would certainly help if the competitors had issues of their own. But the CSeries is good enough to succeed on its own terms.

  4. Finally a simple, objective article explaining that Embraer, Bombardier and Airbus/Boeing will be occupying largely different market segments with their next gen aircraft. It’s almost as simple as 4 abreast / 5 abreast / 6 abreast…

    There is room for everyone, although, with obviouly the most advanced clean sheet design, the CSeries should be well positioned to nibble the other players at both ends of its capacity.

  5. The bottom line is the commonality. Airbus has a wide spectrum of operators shared with Boeing. In the smaller end Embraer dominates. The amount of interest reflected by the order books tell a lot. The real game changer is the engine which they all share..

  6. Air Canada will be coerced to buy the CSeries then the government will change Toronto’s tripartite agreement thus permitting Porter airlines and the other national carriers to buying in. I believe there will be a lot of shady arm twisting by the Canadian government on it’s national carriers and its going to be unveiled in this summer’s air show in I wonder if Scott Hamilton is a bombardier shareholder? He always has nice things to say.

    • “I wonder if Scott Hamilton is a bombardier shareholder? He always has nice things to say.”

      Nope. And your premise is wrong; I’ve noted on more than one occasion the inability of the BBD sales force to make sales it should have won; the policy of the C-level front office being unwilling to make creative deals; and dominance of EMB in the 100-125 seat sector as well as the 70-125 seat sector; and ATR’s clobbering Q400.

      Highly selective reading and/or memory there, Vic old boy.

    • I would put it differently: Scott was one of the first observers to recognize the merits of the CSeries. But he did the same for Airbus and Embraer. And all this while being based next door to Boeing! You wont find a more balanced opinion anywhere else on the Web except at Airinsight.

      As to the purported order of the CSeries by Air Canada I don’t think the government will be involved directly. It actually wants to distance itself from this kind of controversies since the “Airbus Affair” of 1988. And we have to keep in mind that Air Canada is no longer a crown corporation since 1989.

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