The first flight of the Bombardier CS300, the 149-160 version of the new generation aircraft, came off without a hitch on Feb. 27. The flight lasted five hours.
The CS300 is a direct challenge to the Airbus A319ceo/neo and Boeing 737-700/7 and comfortably outsells the A319neo and 737-7. The economics of the CS300 are substantially better than the Airbus or Boeing, according to Bombardier claims and validated by our analysis.
This CS300 is Flight Test Vehicle 7 (FTV 7) but actually precedes FTV 5 and FTV 6 into the BBD test fleet.
First flight was yesterday the 27 February. According to Bombardier FTV6 is a static airframe. FTV5 and FTV8 are the last two flight test vehicle. Aircraft 50006 is the first production aircraft.
Please note that FTV6 will never fly because it is used as a platform to conduct fatigue tests in Germany. It may have flown once though inside the belly of a cargo plane. 🙂 As for FTV5 it has not flown yet and if they keep it inside the hangar any longer it will soon qualify as a static test vehicle. Unless they intend to use it as a successor to Aircraft 0 which is used in the ISTCR. In which case it would have to be renamed Aircraft 00. 😉
More seriously, the first flight of the CS300 variant is a very important milestone for the CSeries programme as a whole. It’s the model everybody wants to see because it looks gorgeous. It is also the model everyone wants to buy for it is more competitive than anything in its category. The sales ratio of nearly 3 to 1 in favour of the CS300 over the CS100 certainly indicates that.
The first flight of FTV5 will be a less significant milestone than the CS300 maiden flight was, but it will play a very important marketing role for Bombardier. It is already the aircraft that every customer wants to see and explore because it looks and feel like a real airliner. Of course Bombardier will want to bring it to Paris this year as the CSeries has already missed the 2014 Farnborough and 2013 Paris air shows. Hopefully FTV7 will be able to join it there. FTV7 alongside FTV5 would certainly create a sensation in Paris next June. It could potentially steel the show as no other new bird is expected this year.
To get back to the CS300 first flight, it went down on record as one of the coldest maiden flight ever. But I would want to check with the Russians before calling Guinness. 😉 The chilly atmosphere in Mirabel yesterday certainly reflected the cooling down of the enthusiasm towards the CSeries that we have noticed in the last six months. It may take a while before potential customers start to warm up again. But there is so much work left for Bombardier to restore confidence.
Last summer Bombardier Aerospace was dismantled and it will take some time for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft to find its pace. First, it will have to find a chief salesman. For you cannot sell an aircraft only by flashing impressive performance numbers. BCA will have to find another John Leahy, provided another genius like this one is available. Second, BCA will also have to build from scratch a descent Public Relation department because that function used to belong to Bombardier Aerospace and it was obliterated in the destructive process that went on last July. Third, the new Bombardier CEO will need time to familiarize himself with the mess he found himself in when he started a little more than two weeks ago.
On the other hand the undergoing campaign to raise fresh capital seems to be going better than expected. This should reassure investors, but that is not what we are witnessing right now. For the stock has never been lower. So lots of work left for the duo Bellemare-Beaudoin. At least a Belle has been found for the Beau. 🙂 But like for any new couple many challenges lie ahead.
This is another symbolic day for Bombardier with this first flight of the CS300 . We should learn to congratulate one of the few commercial companies in the world able to manufacture and bring to market such a plane. Bombardier is still a family business and , as such , it must take risks. There is no risk-free success. And I agree with Norman. It is important to rebuild the management of Bombardier Aerospace. And why not hire John Leahy himself? Is not it a bit jaded with Airbus ?
Bombardier Aerospace does not exists anymore, for it has been dismantled last July and what is left of it has been incorporated into three separate business units: Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, Bombardier Business Aircraft and Bombardier Aerostructures & Engineering Services.
Finally they recognise that they were two businesses to start with:
Dehavilland Canada at Downsview Toronto with its long line of DHC designs
Canadair at Cartierville Montreal which had the Challenger business jet and its related CRJ regional jets
Bombardier Aerospace was the grouping of four different companies acquired by Bombardier in quick succession: 1- Canadair which was acquired from the Government of Canada in 1986. 2- Short Brothers which was acquired from Her Majesty’s Government in 1989. 3- Learjet which was acquired from Integrated Resources in 1990. 4- De Havilland of Canada which was acquired from the Government of Ontario in 1992.
There might not be any new aircraft designs at Paris this year, but there will almost certainly be some important newcomers in the form of the A32xNeo family that will be taking a great deal of the limelight.
Airbus A319NEO has 160 seats in high density configuration. This is proof that Airbus feels threatened by the CS300 and will do whatever it takes to keep customers away from this new model, including there most powerful tool: slash prices. Both Airbus and Boeing are loosing market in the sub 150 seats. Embraer with the new E195E2 is encroaching this market softly not to provoke A and B. I wonder what will be the sales pitch by Airbus to promote the A319NEO? Prices slashing will always work, Qatar Airways was looking to buy the Cseries but change there mind and selected thr A319NEO. The Paris Airshows should be interesting.
During the presentations yesterday for the CS300 maiden flight the new Bombardier CEO openly acknowledged that EIS could slip into early 2016 while maintaining the end of 2015 for certification. That is what I thought myself before the start of the year. But we are almost in March 2015 now and only four out of five FTVs are logging hours at this time. As of today the CSeries has only flown less that half of the total amount of hours required for certification. Mathematically the end of the year is still manageable but any unexpected hurdle could easily push certification into 2016.
Five abreast aircraft is the optimal design for 125 to 150 passengers in any configuration. With a modern CFRP wing, the CSeries will be best in class for the next twenty years.
Only speculate : what will be the next maiden flight for Bombardier commercial aircraft ? Because there will be one or two an upcoming first flight ! Another CSeries or CRJ Neo? It will have to be announced soon because it will take from 4 to 8 years for its entry into service ! TC: what do you think what would be the ideal configuration of such a new future plane ? And for best in class for the next twenty years ? And assume that Bombardier has no problem of money!
I’d go with CSeries stretches. Looks like a lot of competition in the 75 and 100 seat aircraft with the MRJ and Embraer E2. As for the stretches, maybe a Southwest density 150 seater, and then a another longer one for first/premium econ/econ at 150.
Regarding Paris: Bombardier should plan to show the CS100 AND the CS300, which would be an effective way of demonstrating the progress of the CSeries family over the A320 NEO. Else the NEO could steal the show, servicing as a reminder to the world that the NEO was announced later but now on par with the CS100’s development. Displaying both models at Paris will tacitly help illustrate that Bombardier is further ahead in its development program over Airbus.
“Displaying both models at Paris will tacitly help illustrate that Bombardier is further ahead in its development program over Airbus.”
Few people will fall for that impression I’m afraid. That said the CS300 looks good and I hope to see breakthrough orders at Paris.
Bombardier confirms the presence of the CS100 and CS300 at Le Bourget…
For those who cannot read French the news comes from Mike Arcamone, President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, who said that the CS100 will be there for sure, and the CS300 if possible. A total of four Bombardier aircraft will be on display at the Paris Air Show from June 15 to 21, 2015.