March 3, 2015: c. Leeham Co. Flight test results for the Bombardier CSeries show that the economics of the airplane not only are meeting the economic and performance guarantees, they are “favorable” to the marketing brochures that have promised 15% better operating costs and 20% better fuel burn than today’s in-production Airbus A319s and Boeing 737-700s, Leeham News and Comment confirmed.
Three sources told us the CSeries flight tests were turning in better-than-guarantee results. Rob Dewer, vice president and general manager, CSeries Program, confirmed the information today in an exclusive interview.
“We weren’t planning to make that public until Le Bourget but your sources are good,” Dewar said. The results are “favorable to our brochure. For us that is really, really positive. We won’t share precise numbers” until the Paris Air Show in June.
“We’re taking advantage of that as soon as performance data becomes available, we share with current customers,” Dewar says. “We’re sharing it with potential customers. This is all within the last couple of weeks.”
Dewar also says that the payload/range and fuel burn is more favorable than expected. This will enable the operators to either carry more passengers at the same advertised 2,950nm range or carry a typical passenger load farther. He wouldn’t reveal the new range figure, holding this for the Air Show, but he said the increased range is “significant, it’s not a small number.”
Noise tests are done and also came in better than guarantees. Noise factors are critical for Toronto City Airport and London City Airport, where runway performance is also crucial. Noise tests are 1db better than the brochure. There was a margin of 5db between the brochure and the contract guarantees, Dewar said.
Final noise certification will be this spring and runway Vmu and brake tests remain to be complete, the latter in about six weeks.
Eighty percent of the high risk tests have been done, Dewar said. The program has completed 1,180 flight hours with 160 hours per month going on. Flight Test Vehicle 5 (which is fully equipped with the interior) will fly before April 1, Dewar says. Canadian authorities require 2,400 flight test hours. At the current rate of 160 hours per month, BBD needs just under eight months, or through October, to complete the 2,400 hours. The addition of FTV 5 should shorten this period.
Going into the first flight of the CS300 last week, BBD didn’t have a first operator. Dewar said today there is now a confirmed operator, but declined to reveal who it is, deferring to the customer. Swiss Airlines is the most likely answer. It was after hours in Europe to confirm with Swiss.