C919/ARJ21: Aviation Week reports that the COMAC C919 might fly be the end of next year and that EIS may be in 2018.
However, Michel Merluzeau, of G2 Solutions in Kirkland (WA), predicts the EIS won’t happen until 2020. Speaking last week before the British American Business Council-Pacific Northwest unit conference in Seattle, Merluzeau said that after a recent trip to Shanghai, where COMAC is, he now sees EIS in 2020, some four years late and 12 years after the program was launched. The C919 competes with the Airbus A320/321 and the Boeing 737-800/8 and 737-900ER/9.
When C919 was launched, it was the only of these three airplane types to use a new technology engine, the CFM LEAP-1C. This gave the C919, which generally looks like the A320, an advantage in fuel burn. But since then, Airbus and Boeing launched the neo and the MAX; and the five year delay erases any possible advantage of the C919 except price and the Chinese government forcing domestic airlines and lessors to buy the airplane to support an indigenous industry.
Certification of the C919 is related to certification of the AVIC/COMAC ARJ21 regional jet, which is eight years behind schedule. The 90-seat airplane looks very similar to the old Douglas DC-9-10 and has been beset by development and design issues. Aviation Week has a program update in the same article linked above.
Qantas goes on diet: Struggling Qantas Airlines is going on a drastic diet, reducing weight in a variety of areas to save fuel, according to this Bloomberg article. The carrier has been losing hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Bombardier tables Russia: Bombardier has given up for an indefinite period the plan to sell up to 100 Q400s in Russia and build an assembly plant there. The political situation from the conflict in Ukraine and international sanctions are why, BBD said on last week’s earnings call.
Swiss will not be launch customer for Cseries according to this note from Reuters. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr gave the information after announcing the groups Q3 earnings. While Lufthansa was the launch customer (i.e. first to order the airplane) they apparently don’t want to be the first to operate the Cseries (as wouldn’t Braathens Malmö Aviation). Lufthansa still plan to take deliveries in 2H 2015 according to Spohr. One wonders who will be launch operator? And what does Lufthansa / Swiss gain by not being launch operator but still take among the first aircraft?