Bombardier makes it official: CSeries exceeds advertised numbers

Ross Mitchell, VP of Business Acquisitions, Bombardier, discusses cabin modularity and flexibility for the CSeries at the 2015 Paris Air Show.

June 14, 2015, Paris Air Show: Bombardier made it official today, the pre-event of the opening of the Paris Air Show June 15: test results of the CS100 and CS300 exceed the numbers and promises advertised in its brochures.

Numbers have been leaking out for some time. Bombardier said the 110-seat CS100 and the 130 seat CS300 (two class, comfortable pitch) exceeded the original targets for fuel burn, payload, range and airfield performance. Officials also said the airplanes will meet noise targets, -20db below Stage 4, making them the quietest airliner in production.

Range, officials said today, was 3,300nm vs the advertised 2,950nm. The CSeries test results show there is “more than” a 20% advantage over today’s generation of airplanes (as opposed to a promise of 20% and more than 10% vs the forthcoming Airbus A319neo and Boeing 737-7 (vs a promise of 10%), resulting in a 15% total cash operating cost advantage.

Bombardier will reveal more detailed numbers at a press conference tomorrow.

We believe BBD will reveal a somewhat longer range for the CS100 vs the CS300 and more information about the range calculations that will further surprise the industry.

At the pre-event, Ross Mitchell, vice president of business acquisitions for Bombardier, also revealed BBD’s new 20-year forecast. The 100-150 sector, for which the CSeries is designed, is forecast to have a need for 7,000 airplanes. The 60-99 seat sector, served by BBD’s Q400 turbo-prop and the CRJ regional jet, will need 5,700 aircraft over the next 20 years, BBD believes.

Fred Cromer, the new president of Bombardier Commercial Aerospace, noted that the CSeries is the first, 100% new-design single-aisle aircraft in nearly 30 years. Colin Bole, the new sales chief, said the A319 and 737-700/7 are “shrinks” that aren’t optimized for the 100-150 seat sector–though he reluctantly acknowledged the CS100 is a bit of a shrink and the design is optimized around the CS300, which infers a future stretch, the CS500. Bole said focus now is on certifying the CS100 and CS300 and putting them into service. A CS500 could come at a later date.

More tomorrow from the next BBD event, with additional detail of the CSeries performance.




49 Comments on “Bombardier makes it official: CSeries exceeds advertised numbers

  1. Considering the engines and wing dimensions a “surprizing” payload/range boost & CS500 were engineered in from the start. Hence the NEO – MAX..

    • It will be very interesting to see how the E2 comes out weight wise. BBD went all in with composite wings, AL-LI fuse. But in typical BBD tradition, the plane is robustly built so it can take high cycles. Just like the RJs. I think quite frankly the questions most airlines contemplating large purchases would want to know, what is the production plan. When is the ramp, when can I have planes if I order 50 today. BBD needs to press this delivery advantage. Having a great product and faster delivery, can’t get any better then that. Plus they have Lufthansa Teknic to help them dispel any support fears.

      • When Bombardier carried out the preliminary wing tests in 2010 they already knew at the time that the CSeries wing was overdesigned. And more recently when they did the mandatory load test on the wing they reached the 150% load target without a hitch, and the wing had not broken yet when they reached the maximum rig deflection. They also had similar results when they carried out cycle tests on the fuselage and were able to predict that the aircraft will be able to do an extremely high number of cycles when in service.

        This may explain why the plane is slightly heavier. It will indeed be a robust aircraft with a very good longevity.

  2. Juste see the specs sheets on Bombardier website for all change:

    Standard capacity, range and takeoff lenght have been improved but MTOW are higher for both models (+2200 kg for the CS300) which means aircrafts are heavier than planned.

    • I’m not convinced that a larger MTOW means that they’re heavier than planned. The article says that the fuel burn, payload, range and airfield performance are better than planned. MTOW is airframe and payload weights combined, and the maximum payload has gone up.

      Even if the airframe is heavier than planned, they’ve clearly been able to offset that in other ways so it hardly matters.

      • If they are NOT heavier than planned, that would be a major achievement itself and they would not be shy saying so.
        With the normal sort of weight reduction program after early builds, no doubt the numbers will be even better.

  3. Surely, Bombardier’s order book will fill up at high speed. And then , journalists from news agencies and other analysts say they Bombardier are unable to increase the production rate , etc. In short, a new page in Bombardier’s history is being written today …

  4. Well done them!

    Surpassing their engineering targets has got to be good for the sales prospects. Plus there’s nothing like having margin in hand to help a transition to in-service operations. They won’t be scrabbling around trying to fix performance problems. They can spend the time and money on getting it into revenue service instead.

  5. Leeham: The CSeries test results show there is “more than” a 20% advantage over today’s generation of airplanes (as opposed to a promise of 20% and more than 10% vs the forthcoming Airbus A319neo and Boeing 737-7 (vs a promise of 10%), resulting in a 15% total cash operating cost advantage.

    IIRC a 15 % cost advantage over the neo and MAX is pretty much in line with what Leeham News have been saying in recent months.

    Leeham: We believe BBD will reveal a somewhat longer range for the CS100 vs the CS300.

    This might turn the CS100 into a niche aircraft: Long Thin Routes.

    Fred Cromer: The CSeries is the first, 100% new-design single-aisle aircraft in nearly 30 years.

    I always thought that the Embraer E-Jet was a new design when it made its first flight in 2002. Unless Cromer ment to exclude regional jets. The Embraer actually sits somewhere between a regional jet and a small airliner. On the other hand the CSeries cannot be viewed as a regional jet anymore than say the DC-9 can. So technically Cromer is right. Obviously he was referring to the fact that the 737 was designed in the sixties and the A320 in the eighties; a reality the new CSeries numbers make more evident than ever.

  6. Looking at the design, the plane should be even better than that. This is not the end of the story…

  7. We do have specs of the longer range of both CS but the specs of the Urban or rejional CSeries have not surfaced yet?

  8. Leeham: We believe BBD will reveal a somewhat longer range for the CS100 vs the CS300.

    I just had a look at the new specifications and the brochure says that the range of the CS100 is 3100 NM while the range of the CS300 is 3300 NM. This is obviously a mistake. It should read as follow:

    CS100 = 3300 NM
    CS300 = 3100 NM
    CS500 = 2900 NM*

    * My own projection.

    • No, the MTOW raise is lower on the CS100 to not affect takeoff lenght.

      • I am not sure what you mean Nicolas, but here is what the new brochure says for the MTOW of the two variants:

        CS100 = 134000 lb
        CS300 = 149000 lb

        What this indicates to me is that everything else being equal (identical fuel capacity) the CS300 should be 15000 lb heavier than the CS100.

        The respective Takeoff Field Length are as follow:

        CS100 = 4000/4800 ft.
        CS300 = 5000/6200 ft.

        What is missing from the brochures is the respective Operating Empty Weight (OEW).

        • Hi Normand,

          Given, as you say, identical volume fuel tanks in CS100 and CS300, the MTOW quoted for the CS100 (and presumably the CS300) must be with fuel @ max-payload.

          Which (due to field requirements) then enforces a lower range.

          Its a strange way of marketing it – but I suppose the airlines are going to see the payload range diagrams, which would then look *very* impressive.

          • Hi Brendan,

            Yes I agree with what you say and I had arrived at a similar conclusion. But I presume not all operators will want to use the CS100 for short runway operation. So under ‘normal’ circumstances my understanding is that the CS100 would actually have a longer range than the larger model since they both have identical fuel capacity.

          • Indeed – you’d think they’d cover it as a variant* – surely a CS100 topped to the gills with fuel would have another 150-200mn range over the CS300.

            *Airbus have 20+ A320 variants running around the place! [and I don’t mean A318/19/21.]

          • The only way I can explain this marketing strategy is that perhaps Bombardier wants to position the CS100 as a niche aircraft and not as a basic model. In fact today SWISS converted 10 CS100 orders into CS300’s.

    • From FlightGlobal:
      The Canadian airframer revealed at the show that, thanks to lower airframe drag, the CSeries “beat brochure” in terms of fuel burn. This has resulted in a 350nm (648km) increase in range for the larger CS300 variant and a 250nm improvement for the CS100.
      He attributes the CS300’s greater range gain to the fact that its development followed the CS100 “so there was some learning in there we could use”.

      Bombardier is aiming to build on the “better than brochure” CSeries performance disclosed at the Paris air show by delivering a further 4% gain in 2018 through a package of improvements currently in development.
      “Fuel burn is already 1% better than brochure, and there’s more to come,” says Robert Dewar, CSeries vice-president at Bombardier’s commercial aircraft division. “We have the opportunities to increase by another 4% through a combination of the engine and the aerodynamic airframe side.”

      That upgrade package is still being planned, says Dewar, and Bombardier needs to complete a “mini-conceptual design phase” with suppliers before committing to the exact gains it will deliver.

      The improvements will come “roughly half/half between the engine and the airframe – a little bit more on the aircraft side”, he says.

      “It’s kinda normal things – aero clean-up, bigger winglets and some other performance improvements that we don’t want to share.”

      • Wow, that is a very informative article. If I understood it correctly, what the CS300 learned from the CS100 explains why it has better range. And some of those lessons will eventually be transferred back to the CS100 later on. I especially liked the last sentence: “and some other performance improvements that we don’t want to share.”

  9. I see range increases by Airbus and Boeing in the 150 mile area and its a big deal.

    400 mile increase? Truly wow.

    And per all aircraft, they will take weight out as time goes by.

  10. There is an interesting development in regards to the CS500. According to the La Presse newspaper the Government of Québec would be willing to help Bombardier to develop the aircraft. Apparently they don’t want to subsidize them, nor to offer them reimbursable loans, but would prefer instead to participate in the programme by taking debt or equity, provided the money would be used specifically on the R&D of the CS500. Follows the link to the article, which is in French. But I have given you the essential here.

    • Governments dont think up these things on their own, its clearly coming from BBD. Whatever way its structured ( to make it palatable to WTO rules, and both US and EU) its clearly a form of subsidy. The provincial government brings nothing else to the table except its ability to fund its debt/equity share through low rate interest that’s not connected to high risk commercial plane development.

      • Additional material about the results of the WTO panel investigation into Airbus subsidies.
        “The panel found that the acquisition by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (“KfW”) of a 20 percent equity interest in Deutsche Airbus in 1989 was inconsistent with the usual investment practice of private investors in Germany, because no private investor seeking a reasonable rate of return on its investment would have made the equity investment in Deutsche Airbus which KfW made at the time, and that the subsequent sale of that interest to Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm GmbH (“MBB”) in 1992 was for considerably less than its market value. The panel therefore concluded that both of these transactions constituted specific subsidies.”

        This would create a similar hurdle for the Government of Quebec and its investment agency La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
        Good luck with trying to get around WTO, EU and US trade rules when you have competitors with sharp elbows like Boeing, Airbus.

        • If I am not mistaken La Caisse is already the largest equity investor in Bombardier, and has been so for a very long time now. This has never posed a problem and I don’t see how it would be different this time around. I am sure Bombardier has carefully studied all its options before entering into serious discussions with the government. My understanding is that the new Executive Chairman Pierre Beaudoin is now working full time on this kind of possibilities.

          • “Canada’s second-biggest pension fund manager and Bombardier’s No. 2 stakeholder, Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, trimmed its stake by 18 per cent in 2013, the last full year for which data is available.”
            I didnt realise they were a pension fund, so they have the cash and dont need to borrow. As a passive investor you cant really tag your funds for a new aircraft development.
            Then there is this:
            “Members of the Bombardier and Beaudoin dynasty control the manufacturer through majority ownership of the Class A shares, which carry 10 voting rights each.”

    • He used to be an exec at ILFC, I would say French is pretty important.

  11. Something important appears to have gone unnoticed by most observers. The CS300 will now take 140 passengers in a single-class configuration (32 in. pitch) instead of 135. And the CS100 will take 120 passengers in a single-class configuration (32 in. pitch) instead of 115. That is one additional row of $eats.

    • Yes, the revised spec sheet shows that.

      Also, the CS100 has gone from 110 seats to 120 seats in Standard Configuration. There is a new 133-seat Maximum Capacity for the CS100.

      I am curious to find out what changes were made to fit the extra row(s) of seats without altering seat pitch vs. the previous brochure.

      • My current understanding is as follow.

        Shortly before the CS300 detailed design phase was completed this larger variant gained an additional row of seats. It was made official around the time of the CS100 ‘roll-out’. Ever since that time there has been confusion as to the seating capacity of the two variants because many people were still referring to the original spec sheets which said this:

        CS100: 110
        CS300 130

        My understanding is that if we take into consideration the extra row that was added to the CS300 a few years ago we should get this:

        CS100: 110
        CS300: 135

        And now we have to add an additional two rows of seat to the smaller variant and one more to the larger variant in accordance to the latest spec sheets:

        CS100: 120
        CS300: 140

        The above figures are for the single-class configuration (32″ pitch).

          • That is an interesting development. So the difference between Business Class and Economy would only be the seat pitch, correct? As for London City that is a very important beginning. If the CS100 works there it will give the example for other centres across Europe and the rest of the world. Stockholm and Toronto are almost assured, but others could soon follow. Special applications like this is the only way to make the CS100 a success: e.g., hot regions, high altitude airports, short runways. I like to view the CS100 as a Hot Rod C Series.

        • I wonder how this changes all the CSM charts we have seen, I suspect it should blow away E2 now and substantially increase its margin over A319 NEO.

  12. I can’t believe these planes are not flying off the shelves.

  13. @ Mihai

    If the C Series was selling on its own merit Bombardier would not be able to satisfy the demand. So it’s better to have a slow start and ramp-up production progressively. This is very important because they are starting from scratch. But once going they will be able take on more customers.

    There are many reasons to explain this slow start. The first, and most obvious one, is the effort deployed by Airbus, and to a somewhat lesser degree by Boeing, to systematically block the C Series by selling their own airplanes almost at a lost. But I am afraid it will not be enough to kill this very advanced aircraft which is a complete technological success. Especially with the new team that was put in place earlier this year.

    Other reasons have to do with the fact that the airplane is not certified yet. That is an important milestone and explains why historically many other aircraft models had a similar slow start. People would like to see the C Serties sell in great numbers like the A320 and 737, but they forget that those two aircraft had themselves a very slow beginning.

    The other important milestone will be the Entry Into Service (EIS). When the C Series will start flying passengers it should have a very positive impact on the whole programme because the C Series was designed with the passenger in mind. It will be the most confortable single-aisle airplane in the world and airline customers will love it right away.

    Last but not least, airlines and operators like to have aircraft families. So once the CS500 will have been launched the demand for the C Series will increase exponentially. And Bombardier is quietly preparing for this.

    • You make it sound as if they’re novices and need to proceed the learning curve. As far as maintaining the program on its technological merits well the Do728 was also advanced at its launch and we saw where they ended. As far as the reason for building a plane purely for customer comfort is an oxymoron in the airline industry judging by the sardine cans they are trying to stuff us into. Manufacturers build what the buyer wants, period. The bottom line is BBD should really roll up their sleeves and start hitting hard instead of giving us the same spin as in the past five years.

      • “You make it sound as if they’re novices and need to proceed the learning curve.”

        As far as composite wings and Al-li fuselages go, yes, Bombardier ARE novices.

        I know first hand that people on the program are still learning, both in Bombardier and in suppliers.

        • “As far as composite wings and Al-li fuselages go, yes, Bombardier ARE novices.”

          When dealing with new materials like CFRP and Al-Li all manufacturers are novices. In this case to be a novice also means to be an innovator. In fact Bombardier did innovate with its composite wing. They developed a new technique called Resin Transfer Infusion (RTI). It was not easy to develop this new technology but the end result is a phenomenal wing.

          Boeing will also be a novice when they will start to build the new composite wing on the 777X. They now have accumulated a lot of experience with composite but it will be the first time they manufacture a wing in-house. So naturally there will be a learning curve there. On the 787 they were also novices when they manufactured the fuselages. It was indeed a long, difficult and very costly process. It is not even guaranteed that they would use the same technique in their next generation aircraft. When you advance the state-of-the-art you are automatically a novice. In other words you are learning while creating something new.

  14. “You make it sound as if they’re novices and need to proceed the learning curve.”

    Exactly! Every aircraft manufacturer is a novice when a new model is introduced. That is what I meant when I said they were starting from scratch. Airbus and Boeing are no different in that regard. There is indeed a learning curve and it takes a very long time before production is stabilized after the initial ramping up. For example, Boeing are still climbing the learning curve with the 787 and have not yet reached the expected rate of production. It’s the same for Airbus with the A350.

    With 243 firm orders Bombardier have almost secured the first three years of production. And it will take several years before they, and their suppliers, are able to produce 20 aircraft a month, or one every working day, as they would like to if they sell a sufficient number of aircraft.

  15. @ Trooper

    Swiss said today that their CS100 will accommodate 8 more seats while their CS300 will take an additional 15. They also said that the first six to seven rows, presumably on the CS300, will have a 32″ pitch. Which means the rest of the seats will be less than 32″.

    Airways News: The interior layout will feature 125 seats in a 2-3 setup. The forward portion of the aircraft will feature a flexible “EuroBiz” cabin configuration. Business class passengers will be assured an empty adjacent seat which, for passengers on the 2-seat side, means quite a bit of personal space on board. The forward rows will also have 32 inches of pitch, a bit more than the seats in the back.

    Air Transport News: The CS300 will have 145 passenger seats in SWISS configuration.

    So 125 for the CS100 and 145 for the CS300. I think the reason they do this is simply because they can, thanks to the increased capabilities of the aircraft in terms of payload. But the penalty (for the passengers) will be that the seat pitch will be reduced, for a dual-class configuration, from 38″/32″ to 32″/??”. This is the only way to fit additional rows of seat inside the same cabin space.

    Follows the new C Series numbers in the official Bombardier brochure.

    Dual-class configuration (38″/32″):
    CS100 = 108
    CS300 = 130

    Single-class configuration (32″):
    CS100 = 120
    CS300 = 140

    • “Swiss said today that their CS100 will accommodate 8 more seats while their CS300 will take an additional 15.”

      They derived those numbers from the announced maximum capacity. The CS100 maximum capacity was previously 125 passengers. It is now 133 (+8). The Cs300 maximum capacity was previously 145 passengers. It is now 160 (+15). All figures are for a 30″ pitch.

      • It will be very interesting to see how the CSM chart looks like with the seating revisions. I was puzzled initially how the E2 was getting so close to the Cseries in CSM as it is not using any advanced materials to the extent CSeries is using. Like Al Li and composite wings. Now it becomes more clear that BBD was playing a bit of poker until they were closer to the end. The seats should have a MASSIVE impact on CSM. Lets see an update chart please!!

        • Yes but he speaks without an accent. He actually has a Parisian accent. He must have learned the language when he was very young. He was educated at Stanford University, so he may come from a well-to-do family and perhaps they sent him to a Lycée Français in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles when he was a kid. It is also possible that his parents worked in France for a prolong period. But I don’t really know what his nationality is.

          • Sorry, my reply was meant for a post above this one.

  16. @ Mark

    All this was more or less known and made public at the time of the roll-out in 2013. But we were not paying attention. And because the aircraft had not flown yet Bombardier could not substantiate their claims with hard data. When the aircraft was initially presented to the journalists they confirmed that the CS300 would now be available in a high-density configuration with 160 seats. The CS300 detailed design phase had recently been completed and an important modification had been added at the last minute: two emergency doors instead of one, as required when there are more than 150 seats. The CS300 fuselage had also been stretched slightly to accommodate an additional row of seats in standard configuration.

    In my view the flight test data only confirmed what they already knew. Otherwise they would not have started back then to offer a 160 seat option, let alone redesign the fuselage to stretch it and fit an additional emergency door. I think the C Series engineering potential was already evident to them. But they had to prove it. And they waited until the Paris Air Show to make the revelations so that they could maximize the impact.

    That being said, yesterday I heard Laurent Beaudoin, the Chairman Emeritus, talk about those flight test data. He told a local journalist that when people saw those numbers at the show they said that Bombardier had obviously been playing games by being overly conservative. But he revealed that in fact when they made those promises at Farnborough in 2008 they were asking themselves how on earth they would be able to meet those very high expectations. But they did, and more.

    • Its very difficult to come up with exact results even with all the computer models we have today. But several I think Leeham has published some very cool cost per seat mile charts based on the old catalogue. And I would like to see them updated so we can see where Cseries now stands relative to its competitors.

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