Exclusive: CSeries performance better than guarantees, “favorable” to brochure; range better than advertised

Rob Dewar

Rob Dewar, program head of the Bombardier CSeries.

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.

69 Comments on “Exclusive: CSeries performance better than guarantees, “favorable” to brochure; range better than advertised

    • The article states 1180 hours. Another article states 1080 hours. Someone has made an error and I believe its this article.

  1. Anybody here want to venture odds of a significant firm order from a major North American carrier for Le Bourget? Porter and Republic don’t count.

    • Odds are low. UAL not ready. DAL not ready for five years, what with the 717s coming in. AA not ready. AC not ready.

    • What would you call a significant number? Furthermore is that firm or total? The Porter order if it goes through isn’t exactly as significant as the Republic order. Furthermore are you insinuating that both are solid orders or shaky?

      • Any *firm* order from Delta, American and United would be significant… More than 15 *firm* orders from Air Canada would be significant.

        I am certainly insinuating that orders from Republic and Porter are shaky. The first, because its current business plan has no place for the CSeries. The latter, because its order is conditional to a political decision (under pressure from anti-development groups) and the lenghtening of the runway at Billy Bishop Airport.

        On the other hand, Republic could surprise the industry and launch a new airline specializing in point-to-point, long and thin routes, inside the US.

    • That was then. Don’t be so sure this is now. I’ve had conversations with principals that you’ve not had, Georg.

  2. I am pretty sure SWISS will be first operater. In the emplyee magazine for LX (last issue of 2014) there was a picture showing “the first CS-100 for SWISS” in production linke (#50011). So this seems a clear hint to me that it will be operating the jet first.

  3. Swiss has recently officially denied it will be launch customer. «We are first client, but won’t be first user» a spokesperson said to aeroTELEGRAPH.

  4. Good. Bombardier should release any positive news that is validated and solid to regain customer and public confidence. This is a tipping point in the program, performance and range better than promised. The CS100 and the CS300 should and will be in the center of the next Airshow in Paris. Its now time for Bombardier to actively promote the CSeries.

  5. Very Nice !
    Thank you
    So It should be OK for Porter (If billy bishop can be lenghtened)
    MTU hints 3150NM for Cseries range vs 2950 NM advertised range
    Let’s wait PAS15 with confidence

    • I have seen that figure of 3150NM sometime before the end of last year. If I recall correctly we may even have discussed it here on Leeham.

    • Looks like Interjet SSJ’s are a hard fight for E-jets ?

      • In the within discussion, let us keep in mind that (provided the Emergency Exits are adapted, subject to successful Emergency Evacuation demo ??) the C-Series cabin is in theory compatible with Aero-Thompson staggered Cozy Suite seating, where the capacity [if we apply the transformation 145/5 = 29 x 31″ = 899″ and 899″/34″ = 26 … x 6 = 156] is 156 pax for C-300 at reasonable pitch (162+ if we go into superslim higher densities ?).


  6. Une chose belle, cet avion le CS300, a la chasse de Airbus et Boeing!
    Son prix, 72 millions de dollars. C’est 20 à 30% moins cher que ses concurrents d’Airbus et Boeing!

  7. I hope this is the beginning of a string of good news for Bombardier and the CSeries: new CEO, CS300 FF, better that expected performances, CS100 + CS300 at PAS 2015. And apparently a new VP Sales is to be appointed shortly at BCA. If we are optimistic we can even hope for a major order by a mainline carrier as momentum is picking up again.

    For certification the math is quite easy. If we start today with 1,150 hours this means that at the current rate of 160 hours per month another 7 1/2 months would be required for certification. And if we take into account FTV5 joining the test fleet later this month the number of hours flown each month could potentially be even higher than 160; by how much I don’t know, but an additional flight test vehicle should normally cut the total time required for certification. That is the idea of having five of them. So mathematically the month of October appears more than ever to be a reasonable target date.

    But that is not what Alain Bellemare, the new Bombardier CEO, said at the CS300 FF. For he revealed that certification is to be expected only for the end of the year, with EIS potentially a few weeks later in early 2016.

  8. Very positive news, particularly for GTF as far as I can see.
    If the tooling still exists might we see a Boeing 717NEO?

    • Very glad to hear what sounds like really good news about the CSeries. I’ve been hoping for Bombardier to succeed with it since the programme was first announced, through the programme hiatus, all the way through actual launch. I never owned any BBD stock, mind you, I just like the plane and the fact one of the smaller players is daring to design and build a new plane from scratch.

      As for a 717MAX – why would Boeing do that? The original 717 (a 4th generation derivative and re-engine of the DC-9) wasn’t exactly doing great at 156 frames sold. Not the first candidate to consider when thinking about spending a few billion to (re-)build a construction line and revamp/re-engine the type.

  9. Personally I believe Bombardier was slow entering the market with a new plane like the Cseries about 7-10 years ago when the major buyers were buying big after the 9/11 slump. They also made a management blunder when they decided to stretch the Challenger into the Rj700 instead of making a new plane allowing Embraer to pass them and give themselves a good footing in the market. The current delays didn’t help either allowing Airbus to narrow the gap to EIS. The next five years I think will determine the final outcome.

    • The E series was just to create a 4 across like the CRJ series. Its not really passing them.
      The previous Embraer regional jet was 3 across seating.
      The CS series is of course 5 across

      • The Ejet cross section is not like the CRJ. TheEjet has a stand straight aisle, wider seats and a serious cargo belly, making a usefull 41.5m/136ft stretch and longer flights feasible.

        • Its still a 4 across, the extra width is marginal and not really obvious to passengers

    • First you need to know that Bombardier considered doing a plane similar to the ERJ. It was called the BRJ-X. It could be argued that they should have carried it through. But if they had done so they would probably be out of business today (more on this later). The project had actually been tentatively launched at Farnborough in 1998 but did not go anywhere because BBD was considering to stretch the CRJ instead as it had still plenty of potential left in it. Embraer did not have such a choice and went ahead with the ERJ. And of corse it would be a lot cheaper to stretch the CRJ than a clean-sheet design.

      In 2003, only a few years after cancelling the BRJ-X, Bombardier was on the verge of bankruptcy. The company had to be completely restructured. A new CEO by the name of Paul Tellier was brought in and he was determined to cancel the CSeries which had replaced the BRJ-X. Because of that he lost his job after less than two years at the helm. The owner of the company replaced him to save the CSeries. But the latter was going nowhere because the ERJ was entering the market at the time. So the project was shelved once again until the conditions improved. Then a miracle happened in 20o7: the P&W GTF engine became available and the CSeries was launched officially at Farnborough in 2008.

      Yes “Bombardier was slow entering the market” but for obvious reasons. On the other hand it is false to say that “management did a blunder when they decided to stretch the CRJ”. The latter still had good mileage left in it and it was much cheaper for BBD.

      The blunder was to launch the Learjet 85 in parallel with the CSeries and the Global 7000/8000. The Learjet was not a crucial element in the BBD portfolio. It was a costly and risky enterprise that was not justified. On the other hand the Global 7000/8000 were an absolute necessity as the Global is a cash cow for Bombardier Business Aircraft as the CSeries will eventually also be a cash cow for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

      • I am fully aware or the Embraer / BBD competition. After the fifty seat regionals there was a demand for a larger plane. Both companies drew plans around 1998. I’m fully aware of the BRJ-X but BBD chose to beat their rival to market which they did with a variant and thus had a head start. Embraer chose to supply the market with a new plane. At the time both would be overcome by the Dornier 728 which was a superior offering but never made it due to the insolvency of the company. This left Embraer with the new plane advantage which the market wanted. The E jets came later but were a success. When BBD introduced the first Cseries it was the same size as the already operational Ejets who had the headstart. The 700 was a good idea but it lacked longevity. The Ejets are already ten years old have sold well especially the175 and it seems the next generation although not in the same category have obviously drummed up more demand than the Cseries. The real stars here are not so much the planes but the GTF engines.

        • “At the time both would be overcome by the Dornier 728 which was a superior offering but never made it due to the insolvency of the company.”

          The same fate was awaiting BBD if they had tried to produce the BRJ-X. Bombardier was not in the right financial position at the time for such an undertaking.

          “When BBD introduced the first Cseries it was the same size as the already operational Ejets who had the headstart.”

          The CSeries the same size as the E-Jet? The CSeries is a five-abreast whereas the E-Jet is a four-abreast. It is true though that here was a transition between the BRJ-X to the first CSeries and then to the GTF CSeries and capacity kept increasing. This reflects the fact that Bombardier was reluctant to take A&B head-on. And they had good reason to be shy. But eventually BBD aimed to fill the gap between the ERJ and the A320/737. It was a sound decision. But this is only the beginning as the CSeries will be stretched in the future like the CRJ has been several times.

          CS100 = Challenger
          CS300 = CRJ200
          CS500 = CRJ700
          CS700 = CRJ900
          CS900 = CRJ1000

          • Bombardier should focus immediately on another little busy niche: 190-230 seats with a 2x2x2 configuration with the immediate launch of the CS900 ! Bombardier already mastered advanced CSeries technologies. A larger fuselage and larger wings, certainly , but what else?

          • Oh I fully agree that BBD will go CRJ on the Cseries and stretch it to death if it’s a success. Both they and Embraer are lucky Dornier folded cause the 728 would have buried them both deep.
            BTW, I’ve noticed by your comments and replies that you’re really behind this plane. Are you one of BBD’s marketing heads, a big shareholder, a proud Quebecer or all of the above?

  10. I’m wondering if the Republic deal which is big will go ahead after their restructuring. The Ilyushin deal which is also significant could be jeopardized pending further sanctions on Russia. The Porter order relies on the expansion of the airport which I believe government weasels will left it pass, even if some have doubt’s. Iraqi Airways is a few planes but it’s Iraq, another wild card. I don’t know what will be the final outcome but the players and the scenario are interesting.

    • Don’t forget the Odyssey order. That company only exists on paper.

    • I have learned from well-placed sources that Bombardier will supply a bomber version of the CSeries to Irak…

  11. So, how about the CS300 second flight?

    (A350 2nd was in 5 days)

      • Normand, that’s encouraging!

        About your CS900, in 2010 I was “inspired” into sketching a CS900 when it became clear BBD had growth on its mind (Relative large wing and high OEW; build in growth).

        The CS500 is almost a given as far as I can see. The E195X as I used to call it back than (http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/tech_ops/read.main/276025/) has become reality and looks very competative against the CS100, pushing BBD CSeries up..

        Even further stretches (CS700, CS900) could be considered down the road in a next decade. Anyway the CS300 looks good for now.

        • I would not be surprised if preliminary work on the CS500 had already started, as we are talking about adding only 4 or 5 rows of seats.

          Beyond that, things are getting more complicated… New wing? New landing gear?, but mostly going head-to-head with A and B in capacity.

    • I don’t see how your trying to leapfrog the 300 over the 350. How about the surprise Airbus pulled off by flying it to Paris airshow to everyone’s surprise. The 350 is in the customer’s hands. The Cseries isn’t even certified yet. How about that?

      • I expect the A350 to be at PAS this year, in the air and/or on the ground. It would be a real pity if it did not make an appearance. But even if it was on display alongside the A320neo it would not be the centre of attraction as much as I expect the CS100/CS300 combo to be. For the latter is the new kid on the block and the hear to the throne. As for the A320neo it is only a re-engined aircraft. It’s bigger than the CSeries but also older. The CSeries is state-of-the-art, just like the A350 is. But the latter has been at PAS before and will have been transporting passengers for a few months by then. People are always looking for the latest and the greatest. The A350 is the greatest but not the latest. As for the A320neo it is neither the latest nor the greatest.

        • The order book for the 320 neo speaks volumes, literally. Old re-engined plane smokes high tech newbie. It’s not so much the plane but the segment. Look at 319neo orders. Dismal. The real incentives are: The GTF engine which both have and the deep discounts which one can afford. I think at the end of the day the amount of cash one walks away with in their pockets overrides high technology. BBD has to sweeten the pot

          • The A320 is well on its way to become the most successful airliner of all time, but for now the 737 remains the king. Both aircraft are getting old though, especially the 737. They don’t make heads turn anymore. As you get older Walter you will know what I am talking about! 😉

  12. I’ve been following these forums for a while and have come to notice a pattern on Cseries stories. It seems that there is a small group of fellows that are comparable to Justin Bieber groupies. Any one who dares belittle their beloved jet gets a pouncing. Very funny. Very funny indeed.

  13. What we call today the CS300 is really a CS350 and here is why. The first two digits in CS100 and CS300 stand for 100+10(0) passengers and 100+30(0) passengers respectively. But since the CS300 has been stretched by one row of five seats it should have been renamed the CS350 as in 100+35(0) passengers. The same logic would apply to the CS500 which should be expected to be 100+50(0) passengers. And the CS700 as 100+70(0) passengers and the CS900 as 100+90(0) passengers. All these figures represent the standard one-class configuration.

    • CS650? About the right size for 150 seats of first, premium, and econ, being slightly smaller than a similarly configured AA 738. If the CS goes to 175 or 190 seats, it may run into rotation angle and runway length issues.

      • I forgot to say that the CS100 should have been renamed the CS150 as in 100+15(0). It has not been stretched like the CS300 but the interior was reconfigured in order to fit an additional row of five seats. So the neat two-first digits has been broken for good I believe.

        The delta between the CS100 and CS300 is 20. So it would be reasonable to assume that the CS500 will be 135+25=160. Or like you suggest 135+30=165. This should make A+B a little nervous. 😉

        As for rotation angle I don’t think it would be an issue. The CSeries is tall on legs to accommodate large-diameter fans and should accommodate a substantial fuselage stretch as well, while maintaining minimal ground clearance.

        • If a delta of twenty is maintained like for the CS300 versus the CS100, future stretches should look like this.

          CS100 = 115
          CS300 = 135
          CS500 = 155
          CS700 = 175
          CS900 = 195

          Since 195 passengers now appears a little optimistic with that extra row, I think the CS500 that we have talked so much about should be dropped from our list. In my view it would be more realistic to expect the following.

          CS100 = 115
          CS300 = 135
          CS700 = 165
          CS900 = 185

          But this means the CSeries would need a new wing for the CS700/900. If the CS500 was to use the same CS100/300 wing, as many of us expect, it would compromise the range of the aircraft. But with a new CS700/900 wing it would allow the different variants to keep more or less the same range, which in my opinion is extremely important.

          • I think a Long CS900 with a new wing isn’t really feasible. It would compete directly against the A320 but without the latters 10.000 ordered commonality, cargo capability, range, cabin/luggage space and 230 seat A321 option. A long narrow tube becomes inefficient a some stage (ref MD90)

            The CS500 seems a when, not if. The wing has the growth build in as BBD says.

          • If the CS500 does not need a new wing, and as you say the CS900 is not feasible, what would happen to the CS700? It would definitely need a new wing eventually, don’t you think? And while the engineers are at it they might as well design this new wing to suit both the CS700 and CS900. On the other hand if the CS100/300 wing was designed with the CS500 in mind they would obviously want to save the expense of designing a new wing altogether. But sooner or later the CSeries will need a new wing. And my point is that because the CS100/300 already have an additional row of seat it automatically gives an additional row of seat to all the others, including the CS900. But I believe this is a bit too much. That is why I proposed to downscale both the CS700 and CS900 and skip the CS500 altogether. This new strategy would help the CSeries to keep a competitive range for each variant, regardless of capacity. But I am afraid it would force BBD to invest into a brand new wing at an unfavourable time and much earlier than was originally planned.

          • Remember this: Bombardier has already invested one billion of dollars to a wing factory in Belfast … We will have to monetize this factory with a production of several types of wings for the CSeries …

          • Remember this: Bombardier has already wasted one billion dollars on the Learjet 85 and because of this additional money is not available at this time to fund development of any new wing.

          • In Canada , when a company declares a loss on such an investment, it has the right to claim all taxes paid in recent years and in future years . It is a form of self- financing !

          • I remember listening in a Bombardier video or somewhere else than the wing is already stronger than required, also wing loading as well as take off speed is at the lower end for CS300. So a new wing is really needed baring 900?
            Is it possible to remove 6 inches from the side walls then it can be a narrow 6 wide with unbeatable economy?

          • The consensus today is that a new wing would not be required for the CS500. That is almost a given. This means that when the CS100/300 wing was designed some margin was allowed for the CS500. And in addition to that the static tests also revealed that the wing is exceptionally strong.

            My concern though is that if the same wing were to be used on any higher capacity variant the range might be affected. It’s a trade-off. Everything else being equal, if you carry more passengers you will burn more fuel because the load is heavier. That being said I have to take into consideration the fact that today the CSeries has better range than originally promised when the programme was launched, so the negative impact would be somewhat lessened, especially on the CS500.

            For much larger variants like the CS700 and CS900 a new wing would likely be required to keep the same range, let alone improve upon it. I am convinced that the original wing of the CS100/300 models was designed with future growth in mind but there is a limit that is quickly reached and after which a new wing is required. The wing can be modified externally (wing tip/trailing edge) while keeping the same size wing box; this way the performance of the wing can be improved, but the fuel capacity of the wing box would remain the same while the aircraft would necessarily burn more fuel. The end result is that you have an aircraft that can carry more passengers but over shorter distances.

            If Boeing has been so successful over the years it is in part because it always offered aircraft with long range capabilities. We can make a parallel with electrical cars; there would be more of them on the road today if their range was equivalent to what is currently available with internal combustion engines. It could be argued that Embraer has been very successful with the limited range ERJ, but Bombardier is entering a new category with the CSeries where range starts to become very important.

  14. Don’t forget that the CS300 already has a 160 (1-class, extra capacity) version available. This was one of the reasons for the delay as they redesigned to accommodate a second mid section escape door and added a couple feet to the overall length of the fuselage. The other configurations are:
    150 (1-class, dense)
    135 (1-class, standard)
    130 (2-class, mixed).
    I would think that they would not take that long to produce a CS500 stretch as all the work for the second escape door has already been done.

  15. “Don’t forget that the CS300 already has a 160 (1-class, extra capacity) version available.” Yes but that does not make the CS300 a 160 passenger aircraft, as only LCC would want to fly that version. And the range would not be the same either. If we go by the usual standard two-class configuration the CS300 is a 130 passenger aircraft, period. Any variant could have its own high-density or extra-capacity version. So we need a reference standard and that is the two-class configuration.

  16. Comment made just now but misplaced higher up … should be edited to be replaced into the context at the end of this discussion (about capacities vs C Series models)

    • If it is related to measurements like you suggest il would make sense in this context. For the airplane is shown inside the hangar where the extreme cold tests were carried out. The low temperatures would necessarily make the airplane shrink considerably and perhaps they wanted to measure the contraction.

  17. “For the airplane is shown inside the hangar where the extreme cold tests were carried out. ”

    They open the door to get the required extreme cold?

    • In the Arctic it wouldn’t really matter if the doors were closed or not but the CSeries testing was done in Florida at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory on Eglin Air Force base. Inside the facility the aircraft can be cooled down to minus 54 Celsius.

    • My understanding is that the tests are carried out in three phases:

      Phase 1: FTV2 is left overnight in a subzero climatic chamber and started up in the morning. Special warm up procedures to be used by operators under extreme cold conditions will be measured along with the auxiliary power unit (APU), and maximum power engine run-ups performed to ensure correct functionality.

      Phase 2: Assessment of APU and engine operations in heavy snow; freezing rain and fog conditions; along with aircraft performance during ice buildup.

      Phase 3: Operations under varying degrees of hot weather. Light panels will be installed within the climatic chamber to simulate the sun. Subsequently, the efficiency of the aircraft’s environmental control system (ECS), or air conditioning system used to cool the cabin in desert climates will be confirmed.

      The information is copied from the following website which is related to the A350XWB that used the same facility:


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