Pontifications: Big sigh of relief at Bombardier

Hamilton KING5_2

By Scott Hamilton

May 2, 2016, © Leeham Co.: To say that the order from Delta Air Lines last Thursday for 75+50 CS100s with conversion rights to the CS300s was welcome news for Bombardier is an understatement.

Bombardier has a superb airplane in the C Series. The passenger seats are the most comfortable coach seats of any manufacturers, better than the Airbus A320 and way more comfortable than the Boeing 737. With apologies to Embraer, the C Series is even marginally better than the Embraer E-Jet, which is very good.

Superior economics

The C Series economics are far superior to the Airbus A319ceo and Boeing 737-700 and even better than the A319neo and 737-7, according to our analysis. (We

Bombardier CS100 in Delta Air Lines colors. Source: Delta.

have yet to run an analysis of the prospective 737-7X against the C Series.)

BBD had a 14-month drought in orders, until Air Canada placed one for 45+30 CS300s in January. But even this blue-chip customer didn’t remove clouds of doubt over the airplane. A suspicion remained that the Canadian government pressured Air Canada to buy the airplane. Air Canada and Bombardier deny it.

An order from another blue chip customer was needed to instill confidence in doubters. United Airlines was highly anticipated, but it was not to be. Boeing came in with a deal BBD couldn’t possibly match or beat, and UAL ultimately purchased 65 737-700s at a price that substantially undercut the Canadian competitor.

Eyes then turned to Delta. Having seen so many deals fade away, LNC expressed caution even after Jon Ostrower of The Wall Street Journal wrote that a major deal was near. The tea leaves certainly supported Jon’s story. But too many times, defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory to be confident Bombardier would land this deal.

Taking a charge

Concurrent with the Delta order, BBD announced it will take a $500m charge against the 127 recent firm orders obtained from Air Canada, Air Baltic and Delta, or an average of $4m per plane. The blogosphere immediately erupted that Bombardier “dropped its pants” for these deals and sold under cost.

Not exactly.

Bombardier follows accounting rules that require unit cost accounting. It’s well known that early production airplanes cost more to build than later models, once the learning curve it achieved. BBD said last year that it would be five years (to 2020) before the program achieved break-even. This charge is in line with unit cost accounting and BBD’s previous statements.

Contrast this to Boeing, which uses program accounting. As LNC has written recently several Wall Street analysts believe Boeing will never recoup its $29bn of deferred production costs (plus another $3bn in deferred tooling costs) on the 1,300 airplane accounting block for the 787. (Boeing claims otherwise.) It’s been acknowledged by Boeing and the subject of endless analyst reports and news reporting (including LNC) that until very recently, none of the 787s delivered recovered the cost to build them. If Boeing used unit accounting instead of program accounting, the company’s quarterly and annual financial results would have been much poorer, and in some years, a net loss would have been recorded.

Bombardier, and Airbus, write off costs as they are incurred. This reduces the profit margin. Boeing’s program accounting allows it to report profits and higher margins. The practice is accepted under the Financial Account Standards Board Generally Accepted Accounting Practices, but it masks the true financial results. To its credit, Boeing publishes non-GAAP financial results that present a truer picture, but few read these numbers and fewer still pay them any heed.

Setback for Embraer

With the C Series order, Delta also announced that it will not induct into service the 20 Embraer E190-E1s it contracted to purchase from Boeing Capital Corp. Boeing is taking these airplanes in on trade from Air Canada, part of a deal for AC’s 737 MAX order. Delta will assume ownership but resell the airplanes.

Embraer touted Delta as a new customer for the E-Jet (albeit, for used airplanes). The Power Point presentations will have to be revised.

179 Comments on “Pontifications: Big sigh of relief at Bombardier

  1. I think the CSeries delivering a substantial part of the lower NB segment is a good thing for the industry.

    I think the E195E2 will knock out the CS100 eventually** but the CS300 and likely CS400/500 will sit in a good place.

    BBD will have to work to secure that market by further optimizations and efficiency enhancements.

    ** assuming the E195E2 is $10mln cheaper, has the same payload, engines and lower OEW.

    • But Keesje, is that the sale price is the only factor considered when purchasing such a plane? There is a strategic diagnostic approach may enter many other decision criteria.

      • CS, that’s correct.

        Apart from the CSeries strongpoints discussed, in that respect we cannot ignore the Ejet’s stable, humming production lines, E2 family options, 1200 E-jets delivered and their dozens of operators, thousands of pilots and global MRO infrastructure in place.

        Now, coming back to the competition of the E2 jets with the new CS100, does that really count so much, for a major operator in the longer term? Yeah, of course, heavily. And a great DL order doesn’t make it go away. Stronger, Delta could order 100 E175’s next week as far as I’m concerned.

        • The Cseries has already locked up Lufthansa Teknik and now Delta Tech Ops as COEs for the Cseries. It would be great if they can get KAL to be the Asian base. But I think with close to 300 firm and 800 committed, there is little to worry about the size of the Cseries Ecosystem in the mid to long run.

    • It seems to me that in the narrow body segment many carriers buy a “series” not one particular aircraft. If an airline is looking for aircraft seating 100-150 passengers, they will gravitate towards the CSeries. If they want 80-120 they will gravitate to Embraer.

      In terms of that specific ~120 seat sub-segment, if the airline wants low price and probably slightly lower operating cost, they will buy the E195E2. If they want hot and high performance, short take-off, long range or “best in class” cabin experience, they will likely buy the CSeries. The former is likely a bigger market than the latter.

      • The E195E2 may be $10mln cheaper but it costs a fortune to operate.

        • Curtsy of CFM, we´re told, problem solved with the E2. I suspect Delta have just told us there eventual B738/A320 replacement, CS500.

        • For some reason, Boeing which as former Air Canada E190. some only 8 years old, can’t find any one to buy theme, what’s wrong? Air Canada will get rid of 25 more… Anyone care to explain the reasons.

          • Horrendous overhaul cost of CFM34, everybody want to get rid of their E-jets before they are 12 y.o.

          • The CFM engines may have horrendous overhaul cost but since the E series doesn’t use them it wouldnt be a concern.
            You must mean CF34

          • So much talk about CFM, the fingers are on autopilot, sorry

        • I have also heard negative comments about the turnaround process for Ejets. Related to the cargo holds. Not sure if this is fixed in E2. But CS100 will provide an upgauge option (maybe 2) while E195 will not. Plus there is the poor ground handling of E195E2 due to rotation limits 6500 ft at MTOW for the 195 E2 OUCH!!!! Not sure if that is the latest info or not. Plus the Cseries has a TON of extras including the in flight diagnostics. Composite wing ALLi Fuse. Its a full generation ahead of the Jungle Jet.

    • “I think the CSeries delivering a substantial part of the lower NB segment is a good thing for the industry.”

      That is what Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, said when he signed the deal to acquire the C Series: “This decision by Delta, in our opinion, brings Bombardier as a third competitor into the mainline aircraft marketplace with Boeing and with Airbus, we’re thrilled to be able to have that choice.”

      “I think the E195E2 will knock out the CS100 eventually.”

      The E195E2 is indeed a formidable competitor to the CS100, but because airlines like to maximize commonality they may prefer to acquire the CS100 as a starting point, with some CS300 in the mix, and perhaps the CS500 later on. They may also prefer the C Series if high performances are required for operations at airports with short runways, high altitude and hot weather. The extended range offered by the CS100 is also a must for some operators.

      “…the CS300 and likely CS400/500 will sit in a good place.”

      I have never heard of the CS400 but that would be contrary to what everyone expects. For the C Series wing is extremely strong. In fact it is much stronger than expected. We all know that the wing did not break before reaching 150%, as is required for certification. But the engineers continued the test beyond 150% in order to find the structural limit of the wing. Eventually the wing structure did crack, but only after an unbelievably high load figure was reached. What this implies is that the potential of this wing is almost unlimited. That is why we can expect in the near future a CS500, and perhaps even a CS600, but definitely not a CS400. The C Series is an extraordinary aircraft that surprised everyone, including its own designers.

      • South America, Caribbean and, Denver. Incidentally I have a feeling the US airline industry is quietly concentrating on areas not so well served by the ME3.

      • Important correction: I am not sure if the wing did crack or not. What I do know is that it had not cracked before an unbelievably high figure had been reached.

        • Its not like they can load it up like a B52 and use a 2 mile runway for takeoff and then slowly climb off to its destination.
          The ‘unbelievably high load factor’ indicates it was probably overdesigned to start with. If you wanted to increase the span or wing area, it would be better to strengthen the wing box later.

          • The torque box is designed to a strain rate. So it wasn’t they couldn’t load it enough in the rig, they couldn’t displace it enough [and the strain rates they were imposing were beyond that of flight].

            So, to strengthen the torque box (as in, for CS300), all that is needed is a few more plies on covers and spars. It’d be similar for CS500 and (if) CS700.

    • It’s pretty early to assume the E195E2 will be $10mln cheaper.

    • I like Bjorn’s straightforward 6 frame stretch of the -300 for a -500 with 178 passengers in single class seating with slim line seats at 30″pitch (he says equivalent to standard seats at 32″). TOGW was 160,000 #, thrust increased 5%. At 154 passengers, standard 32 ” seating and no commercial cargo his range was 2550 nm. At 178 I assume it would still be over 2000 nm. (the MD88 range and covers more than 95% of 737 missions).

      With service in the early 2020’s and some tuneups including weight reduction, engine improvements and maybe slower cruise it might beat a 737-7.5 even 737-8 MAX by 12-15% in fuel burned and carbon emitted in missions 2000 nm and under. Another frame may be attractive. There will be plenty of -3oo’s, neos and MAX to fly longer missions.

      Makes any Boeing NSA of this capacity pretty tough

      • “At 154 passengers, standard 32 ” seating…”

        I suspect this a typo because it sounds like a CS400. The CS300 is already 140 seats@32″ in single-class, and 130 seats in dual-class. And a CS500 would likely hold 165 seats@32″ in single-class, and 150 seats in dual-class. But when I get excited I see a CS600 that could hold 175 seats@32″ in single-class and 160 seats in dual-class. But I am not knowledgeable enough to determine with any degree of certainty what might be the range of my CS600. If I take a guess I get about 2,700 nm. I know that it’s a little optimistic, but I think we haven’t seen anything yet in terms of range. For the C Series has plenty of reserve… 😉

        • NH
          I mixed up seat pitches in my first paragraph. For a 6 frame CS300 stretch, think 170 passengers in 30″ pitch comfortable slimline seats. range around 2600 nm. I would lean toward 7 frame stretch at Bjorn’s 160,000 #TOGW and trade off 150-200 nm more range. Maximize fuel and carbon savings per seat under 2000 nm or so. Bombardier has lots of highly competitive flexibility.

        • About the CS500, I don’t we will see that before 5 years. Many new adjustment have to be made, for now lets wait for the success of CS100 and CS300 on commercial respond. With the CS500 the competition is already very big in the numbers of seats. I love the CSeries since they start talking about it. It is better to be prudent then sorry!

          • Yes I increasingly hear these days that the CS500 won’t be out for a number of years, anywhere from two to five years from now. But I think that’s pure baloney. I have been cogitating a lot about this recently and it doesn’t make sense to me, for the market is starving for that model. Think of Delta, British Airways, Air Canada, Jet Blue, just to name the most obvious candidates. So to help me understand what was going on I came up with a conspiracy theory of my own: Bombardier wants the world to know that the CS500 is years away and they leak that false information to influential people hoping it will reach Boeing’s ears; and Airbus to a lesser extent, because the CSeries is not so much a threat for Airbus as it is for Boeing. Why would they want to do that? Because they are scared to death of their reaction. But the fact is that the market cannot wait any longer and I am convinced that in the Delta order there is a secret provision to launch the C Series now! That is as soon as the federal aid will have been secured. I don’t know exactly what shape or form that aid will take but I suspect it will have something to do with an R&D programme tailored for the CS500.

  2. Regarding the 20 used E190 Delta has acquired from Boeing, isn’t it surprising that they changed their mind so fast after that transaction and decided to instead go with the C Series?
    Unless they took the E190s to get better pricing from Boeing, knowing all along they would be re-selling them.

    As for the B787 deferrred costs, yes there is the 32 B$ in deferred production and tooling costs, but are there also deferred development costs? If so, these will also have to be amortized as aircraft are produced.

    As an accountant, I tend to believe a part of these development costs should currently be attributed to each plane produced, thus ending up in the deferred production costs pool.

    • These “hidden costs” associated with the Delta Control, there is another way also to consider. It would be easy to make accounting models with updated values ​​to determine how much additional sales this investment in Delta will report. So, what appears as transaction costs are actually creating long-term value. One should rather speak of ” hidden performance ” that will generate future cash flows.

      • @ CS

        Too true, it is simply prudent accounting and no more, a charge today against more profitability later.

        • With the Boeing accounting system it is the exact opposite: strong financial performances today against less profitability later. The whole credit system is based on that premise: buy now and pay later.

          • NH,

            No, it is not. Program accounting is about TAX avoidance. There is no debt to “pay later.” The cash was spent as invoices were booked and paid. A matching entry was posted (debited) to the deferred cost account. This account will be reduced (credited) as units are delivered for which total costs are lower than total revenues, until the account reaches zero balance. Doing so during this period will thereby reduce taxable income of the corporation. This is simply about retaining cash, rather than sending it to one or more governmental treasuries.

            As Scott commented above, this methodology is fully compliant with GAAP. It is sophisticated financial engineering, to be sure. But it does NOT mask the true financial results, as was asserted. Any number of professional analysts and others can read Boeing’s reported results to see the reality.

          • @NCPx

            Technically speaking you are absolutely right and I should know better. The deferred costs scheme might be a long-term financial burden but it is definitely not a debt load. But what I had in mind is the ‘now versus later’ mentality behind this way of conducting business. I do not specifically condemn this accounting practice, but on the Dreamliner programme it has taken such a proportion as to have become absurd. That being said I must admit that I did not know anything about the tax avoidance aspect of this practice.

          • That has been noted, Boeing starts a new program and kicks the tax can down the runway over and over again.

            I think it should be declared illegal by the IRS to stop it, we read about how our corporate tax is too high in the US, but GE and Boeing pay zero many years, as a taxpayer that does not cut it with me.

            Interesting that McNeneary was a card carrying member of the get rid of social security club.

  3. Apologies for the boring semantics of accounting and maybe I am showing my ignorance of GAAP rules. I understood that initial research and development costs had to be booked and couldn’t be amortised. The key problem why Boeing will have severe difficulty in covering the $32bn in my view is the profit sharing arrangements they have in place with the risk sharing partners.

    Remember Boeing pushed risk down to at least 1st tier suppliers ie they would share in the risks and rewards of the program. This means that those suppliers can expect some of the margin on each unit sold reducing considerably that available to pay off the deferred costs.

    This is a difficult area in which to gain clarity but I feel this more than anything else now will lead to a forward loss on the programme.

    • Every country has different rules. In the US (at least when I worked for a US company), R&D can be capitalised if it leads to a product which is sold to more than 1 customer. So research can not be capitalised and needs to be expensed because it does not lead directly to a product. R&D for a single customer (e.g. KC-46) can not be capitalised because it is R&D specifically tailored to meet the needs of one specific customer only. But R&D on the 777X, 787 and 737-MAX can be capitalised.
      When I worked for for a Scandinavian company, the lines where much more blur. Some R&D was expensed, some capitalised and there seem to be no consistency behind these decisions.

  4. In fact, in a manufacturing company as Bombardier, there is a line item entitled ” Indirect manufacturing expenses” line item in which records all related expenses. And it is precisely the occasion to include «false charges» there that will become sources of profit . We then present a customer a result of the inflated cost per unit. For the deals with this numbers, its possibly realistic to think that produce with a small profit at the end. Otherwise, there is another way to consider these aggressive pricing. They are the equivalent of a marketing budget. How many newspapers and websites around the world relayed the information ? How many hours and representation travel costs are saved with such a contract ?

  5. The further prospects with mainline US operators – beyond the recent Delta deal – of BBD with their C Series in the competition against other Regional Jets depend largely upon renegotiations of penalising Scope Clauses in effect around in USA. A generalisation of imports of maturing routes from Commuter lines into Mainline networks (ie, doing what United intend to do with its 737-700) is not granted. Now, if Scope Clause can be relaxed from present day 76 seats/86,000 lbs MTOW to e.g. 126 seats/126,000 lbs MTOW, then both CS100, SSJ-100, MRJ-90 and E2 would qualify for US Commuter services where hundreds of mature routes are desperately awaiting upgauge so far hindered by Scope Clauses. To accelerate Cs100 sales, Alain Bellemare and his people are advised to lobby for Scope Clause revision.

    • That’s an excellent point. I attended Alain Bellemare Friday speech at the meeting of shareholders. I was in his neighborhood after the meeting and I heard talk about him with such conviction, animated by a spirit warrior, it is provided with a force able to bring it through many obstacles. It is completely access the results. Far from being a narcissistic blinded by ambition, on the contrary it is animated by a spirit of conqueror who knows to rely on his team. And this is the team that is a strike force that might surprise us more than once. In short, it has nothing to do with Pierre Beaudoin, much more introverted and more dreamy than brawler…

      • Beaudoin and Bellemare have indeed very different personalities. Bellemare came in at the right time. Before him the focus had been strictly on cost cutting. After all Laurent Beaudoin, Chairman Emeritus and father of Pierre, was an accountant. Thank god he was also a fabulous entrepreneur, but apparently he did not pass this exceptional talent to his son. Just before Bellemare arrived the company was profoundly restructured, not financially but administratively. Bombardier Aerospace was dismantled in favour of smaller and more nimble business units: Commercial Aircraft, Business Aircraft and Aerostructure. And up to that point many high executives had come from the automotive industry because they have a long tradition of implementing techniques to lower the manufacturing costs since the days of the Ford Model T. But after the C Series was certified it was now time to put more emphasis on the marketing side of the business, which had been dismal until then. And Alain was the perfect guy for the job because he was much better connected with the industry than Pierre, while also being very strong on cost cutting. That is perhaps why they get along so well.

        • Yes, Normand. Alain Bellemare is absolutely the right person at the right time came . It could not have been better ! I think Pierre Beaudoin has not had, until now, all the credit and the credit of having wanted and defended the CSeries program.

          • In my opinion all the credit should go to Laurent Beaudoin. He had supported the idea of a BRJ-X in 1998 and when he found out that Paul Tellier was determined to cancel it after succeeding him as CEO he simply fired him. Laurent replaced him as CEO while keeping his responsibilities as Chairman of the Board. He then resuscitated the BRJ-X project and renamed it the CSeries. Tellier was also against the share structure that effectively gives control of the company to the Beaudier Group (Beaudier stands for the Beaudoin/Bombardier families). If that structure did not exist nor would the C Series. For any descent executive would have quickly terminated that non-sense project, just like Tellier attempted to do. It takes crazy people like Steve Job, Elon Musk and Laurent Beaudoin to make the world turn. Otherwise it would stand still like it did in Galileo’s time.

          • C series was the right thing to do, but Lear 85 was a very ill conceived idea.

    • I think you can forget relaxing Scope Clauses, now or in the near future. The trend is the other way, with mainlines, such as United, taking over more commuter routes. (The U.S mainlines increasingly see growth and profits taking back bigger commuter line routes than adding international routes.) There’s a real shortage of pilots that’s started, and is growing. During this unusual period of mainline airline profitability, the LAST thing mainline airline management wants is their pilots walking a picket line. If you really want to stir up trouble with ALPA, APA, etc., this is definitely a way to do it, (And they’re generally pretty “hot” right now, after DOT’s Norwegian decision. LOL) Scott, do you agree?

      • I would think this would be the opposite, if the airlines are moving into commuter then the agreements can be adjusted to deal with the levels of pax numbers. Steady career patch, small twin (prop) being entry and the big kanuna 777 the top (no A380s)

    • Scope clauses need to be modified in another way, currently they don´t attract enough pilots to fill the jobs, so allowing bigger aircraft as regionals would allow a wage package that might attract enough new pilots.

    • I am not so sure it would matter. Alaska has no scope clauses and they still went with 76 seaters which really puzzles me.

      • Better fits Horizon markets out here (I’m at MSO, typical market in PNW), and replaces 70-72 seat Q400.

        • but why not put 86 seats on it and get the upside when it is there?

          • Its never simple. It has to do with what is available, price (maybe really good) distances flown and where the best fuel economy takes place, how much maint is (and known vs unknown) and you may simply not fill all those seats and getting more still costs you.

            Its also an average. Having been on some of those Horizon flights ion the A400s, packed to the gills (not a seat left.) – it would seem like more seats would be better.

            I may only fly hot routes and the others are not that full.

            AK is well run so they must have weighed all the factors.

            I agree on the puzzlement but I don’t think it was not well considered.

  6. Last Friday I attended the general assembly of Bombardier. I visited the CS300, examine the plane closely, talk to an engineer who was present at the aircraft and tried several seats. I confirm about Scott. Incredible comfort, certainly, but it is the vision of the passenger impresses with this sense of space around you more important, with more free space. It flows much better. The middle seat is really well thought, and effectively, it was a little like being in a class, to benefit from an advantage of greater comfort. It is an impression that counts but probably. And when you enter the cockpit, we enter in another universe. The general perception is that of a child who comes for the first time in a land of unique game again. Any pilot enjoy very much before such technological marvel. We literally get into the environment of a Global Express. Only the cockpit experience suggests to us that we are in the single-aisle Ferrari. Finally, in discussions with the engineer, he confirmed that this is the wing that represents the best technological achievement in his eyes. It believes that it has not delivered all its secrets and its future developments possible to imagine several possible scenarios aircraft. Naturally he did not commit on broadening the range of CSeries but he was excited at the prospect he had an object in front of him that was like a set of blocks to imagine the future …

    • “Finally, in discussions with the engineer, he confirmed that this is the wing that represents the best technological achievement in his eyes. It believes that it has not delivered all its secrets and its future developments possible to imagine several possible scenarios aircraft.”

      Indeed, the possibilities are so numerous that it has become an embarrassment of the riches. At this time they are probably discussing this beautiful problem with potential customers in order to determine what they would prefer; i.e, more passengers/less range, or good range/less passengers. If the CS100 and CS300 are so good it is because Bombardier listened to what customers wanted and I hope they will do the same with the CS500. But my impression today is that customers don’t want a CS500. What I think they want, considering the potential of the wing, is a higher-capacity aircraft with an optimized range. In my book that model is called the CS600 and holds 160 seats in a standard two-class configuration, with a range in the vicinity of 2700 nm or so. I was expecting an announcement at the 2016 Farnborough Airshow, but from what I hear we may have to wait until the next one in 2018. 🙁

      • How long does it calculate time between an official announcement, sales and commissioning ? Normand, for your information, La Presse + this Saturday , a French newspaper , Bellemare gave an excellent interview, he confirmed that using the federal government was to put future products in the pipeline !!! So this development CS500 / 600 might happen faster than we think. I have not had time to ask the engineer if we could do a CS75 with this wing . No doubt the answer is yes, but at what cost? It seems to me that, from a strictly strategic view, a CS75, 100, 300 and 500, there would already stunning range !

      • My comment above about this order being a statement of Delta´s future, sure they are talking about the CS500 right now.

      • I was hoping they would squeeze 175 seats in a 2 class layout. This would be 10 seats more then A320, and about 13 more then 737 -8 but without doing all the fuel eco and range projections its hard to know if this would be a good product or if the can get the thrust from the same family of engines.

        • The A320 holds 150 seats in a standard two-class configuration. And the A321 is at 185. So what you propose may be a little optimistic. But you would be in good company with jim krebs who has a similar view. My understanding is that it would be technically possible with the existing wing but the range and performances would be severely limited. And the engines would also have to be upscaled; i.e., borrowed from the Airbus larger variants.

          • The 320 NEO Wiki lists the 2 call capacity at 165?!? is this not correct? In either case they need to do 10 seats more then 320 and/or 738. I believe this is the right product. Both Boeing and Airbus are trying to jam in more seats. But of course the final product needs to be one that Delta, IAG, Lufthasa etc can use.

          • Here is what we can read on the Airbus website:

            “The A320 typically seats 150 passengers in a two-class cabin – or up to 180 in a high-density layout for low-cost and charter flights. As a result of an optimised cabin space and increased exit limits, the A320neo (new engine option) accommodates 165 passengers in two classes or up to 189 in a high-density configuration.”


      • NH

        Forget two class. Single class should prevail in the carbon-conscious 2o20’s and beyond because it provides inexpensive capacity and saves considerable fossil fuel and carbon emissions per seat mile. In rechecking Bjorn’s study of a 6 frame stretch of CS300, his 168 single class seats (30″ pitch, slimline seats) and 2550 nm range aren’t far from your C600 desires. Bombardier may do better; and maybe for 2022 service? A 737-7.5 MAX could have 168 of the same single class seats. The fuel burned comparison for short haul average missions will be interesting; Airbus and Boeing should be worried.

        • I only use dual-class as a reference so that people can compare oranges with oranges and apples with apples. What LNC is proposing is actually a CS550, for it holds 155 seats in standard dual-class. It is some kind of Super CS500, with five more seats than a CS500 would normally have. It would also offer five additional rows over the CS300, which holds 130 seats. And a range of 2,550 nm would be quite respectable for continental USA and absolutely no problem at all for continental Europe. Perhaps later on they could expand the range further by shedding more weight while introducing a few PIPs along the way.

        • Jim:

          I have yet to see well to do people subjected to the same restrictions the rest of us, i.e. carbon or not, there will always be 2 class seating if the bucks are there.

          They will slice it to 3 if there is a chance to snag CEOs with their cushy seats and deals.

    • @Arcanum Another example of why one can’t rely on Microsoft spellcheck.

      • Spell check is ok, its the context checker that causes grief.!~

        On the other hand of such mistakes are some good new statements, some and some.

  7. Dear Scott, a little off topic, but given your mention of Delta, can you see them dropping their 78 order, or maybe trying to lease them? 18 on order–leftover from the old Nortwest days?–seems like too small a subfleet. And they seem to have “loaded up” on Airbus widebodies–25 330s and 25 350s. And obviously no love lost between them given Anderson’s 777 comments, ExIm bank controversy, and maybe even the Delta vs. Alaska Air “Battle in Seattle”!

    • @Osprey I don’t know why DL hasn’t dropped the 787 order before now, using it as leverage for other Boeing deals. Maybe the right deal hasn’t shown up yet.

      • I think Delta is opportunistic, as they say. When a good deal comes around they can move.

        Delta have aging A320, 717, 757, 747, 767 and MD fleets and can basically use everything good for good price. And that can easily be used aircraft too.

        So if Boeing wants a launching customer for a new NSA/NMA they know where to go.

  8. “A suspicion remained that the Canadian government pressured Air Canada to buy the airplane. Air Canada and Bombardier deny it.”

    It is in fact the other way around: It was Air Canada that pressured the government. Here is how I view this transaction. Air Canada made a conditional offer to Bombardier to acquire the C Series in great numbers if, and only if, the government drops its lawsuit against Air Canada over its legal obligation to maintain its heavy-maintenance centres in Winnipeg and Montréal that they have closed in 2012. It’s a classic case of blackmailing your own government. Air Canada wants those airplanes and the government wants the jobs that come with it. Since Bombardier was going through a prolonged order drought Air Canada used this potential order as a bait. The fact that this supposedly firm order is not signed yet is an other indication that there are legal matters that are not in line with Air Canada’s demands.

    • One part of the lawsuit against Air Canada comes from the Québec government because one of the maintenance centres that were closed in 2012 was located in Montréal. But there are other parties involved, which makes this transaction fairly complex. As a compensation to the Québec government Air Canada offered to open a C Series heavy-maintenance centre in Montréal in exchange for the drop of its lawsuit. My understanding is that a similar deal is in progress in the region of Winnipeg. And to add to the complexity the unions are now countersuing. So this is far from being a done deal and don’t believe BBD or AC when they say that only a few things remain to be sorted out before the deal is signed. The Canadian government is indirectly involved in the lawsuit because it was its own law that was flouted. But now Air Canada is pressuring the Canadian government to amend the law; i.e, no change no deal. But the lawsuits come from the provincial governments (Québec and Manitoba) and the unions. We will be lucky if this deal is signed before the upcoming Farnborough Airshow.

      • I forgot to mention a small detail: One of the parties involved in the lawsuit, and now the counter lawsuit, is the government of Québec, which now owns 49% of the C Series programme.

  9. @Sowerbob

    “Remember Boeing pushed risk down to at least 1st tier suppliers”

    Please explain how those suppliers are responsible for the 32 Bn waiting better days in Boeing books.

    They probably have to armotize (or already did it) their own costs on the project such has premises, R&D ….

    • Risk sharing, embodied in the 787 program=profit and cash flow sharing. They have a reason, in the way the program was set up, to expect a profitable price and not “partner for success” now the program is cash flow positive. In the words of ¨Spirit¨ we´ve partnered enough.

    • @AP

      Sorry missed this as on a new thread. they are responsible for the reduced profitability for the programme going forward as they will also be expecting to generate profit margin on each frame sold. there was a very detailed academic paper done on this I read 4/5 years ago from a gaming perspective by respective partners and will attempt to dig out for you (!?!). It focused on the messy nature of both profit reporting and risk sharing that would arise as a direct result of the processes that Boeing was putting in place.

      The upshot is that Boeing and risk sharing partners would share in both the risks of the project but also the eventual profitability of the project in some proportion to their work share. How this works is beyond me and must be fraught with potential to game especially given learning curve etc.

      So as aircraft are sold elements of profit will be owing to the risk bearing partner in proportion and not just flow to Boeing. This must have some impact on the profitability of each unit and the ability of Boeing to ‘pay back’ the deferred costs IMHO

  10. Normand, wings don’t get much stronger then expected. If so, poor engineering and bad FEM modelling is involved. Too strong means too heavy.

    I always assumed the choice to include “high MTOW”, payload-range variant was a clear indication of a bigger variant anticipated. Around Aug 2008:


    Not saying so was also a strategic choice. But didn’t fool Leahy. Any aerospace engineer saw the wing, engines and landing gear suit something bigger.

    The priced payed is a likely higher then required OEW and related operating costs for the smaller variants.

    • “Normand, wings don’t get much stronger then expected. If so, poor engineering and bad FEM modelling is involved. Too strong means too heavy.”

      Poor engineering, really? You probably meant prudent engineering. I suspect the Dreamliner wing failure might be responsible for this cautionary approach. You probably remember that the 787 wing broke way before the 150% limit. So you can’t blame the Bombardier engineers for being conservative. As you know FEM modelling is a tricky business when working with composites and the BBD engineers had to deal with a new technique called Resin Transfer Infusion that was being developed in-house by Bombardier.


      “I always assumed the choice to include “high MTOW”, payload-range variant was a clear indication of a bigger variant anticipated.”

      Yes, but the way things turned out the MTOW margins are considerably larger than what was expected by everyone, including the BBD engineers.

      “Not saying so was also a strategic choice.”

      Yes, up to a certain point. The reality is that the Bombardier engineers were flabbergasted by what they saw in static tests and flight tests. The one who expressed it best was Laurent Beaudoin, Chairman Emeritus, when he said at the last Paris Air Show that when they introduced the CSeries at Farnborough in 2008 they didn’t know how they were going to deliver on their promises. But in the end they will have done a lot more than that: they will upset the narrowbody market. And that is what upsets you keesje.

      • Normand I have been promoting the Cseries for a decade. That doesn’t mean it’s the biggest invention since sliced bread.

        If the wing would be really much stronger than calculated, alarmed authorities would jump in to have a better look at calculation methods and models. Demand an explanation and ask prove that the other calculations aren’t off by a large margin too.

        Engineers that are flabbergasted, surprised about their testresults.. no thanks. I’m sure they weren’t.

        • “Normand I have been promoting the Cseries for a decade.”

          Indeed you have. But you also snipe at it at every opportunity you have. You must be a very ambivalent fellow: confronted with greatness while seing the Duopoly challenged just when Airbus was about to get the upper hand.

          • To be fair, keesje snipes at everything not made by Airbus.

          • This isn’t a snipe hunt, people.

            Ratchet it back.


        • hmm so the Lear 85 composites structures were close to disintegrating in the air and the 787 composites had to be reinforce Mitsubishi MRJ required beefing up at the wing joins and you still think FEM is the be all and end all? The composite techniques used to build the wing and all the assembly techniques are all 100% new so FEM is not that accurate when you are building such a structure. But overbuilding composite structures does not inflict a very large weight penalty, so its possible they decided to play it very safe on this one.

          • It may also be that to get the overall your wing also winds up stronger in the one direction than needed.

            Boeing was not sure that the wing tips would not touch if they took it that far.

            Its at interfaces you can have problems, and composites can delaminate if water penetrates them, any material has its downside and you work around that to get what you safety need.

    • The 787 wing did not break. They took it over 150% and quit (said that they did not want the shrapnel flying and wrecking things, unknown if true or not)

      Wing join did crack, but that’s not the wing.

  11. The Bombardier CSeries is a great plane I’m sure, but I see in a Wikipedia article on the CSeries that it is 46% composite. Don’t you think that much composite use on a plane the size of the CSeries just might be a fatal mistake? I say it is.

    For that reason, I don’t drink the C-Series Bathwater.

    • Jimmy, it is true that the C Series wing has a slightly higher percentage content of composite material than the one on the 787. But the proprietary technology used by Bombardier is phenomenally good. And the main fuselage is made of aluminium-lithium, which is still a modern technology, but one that is considerably less risky.

      “Don’t you think that much composite use on a plane the size of the CSeries just might be a fatal mistake?”

      It was for the Lear 85. A mistake that could indeed have been fatal for Bombardier.

      • Al-Li is hardly modern technology,. An early user was the late 50s North American A5 Vigilante. The 747-400 started using it back in the late 80s for structural parts. Its the last gasp of the rivet age to be using it in the fuselage skin.
        The A350 is still 20% Al or AL-Li for ribs, floor beams, gear bays

      • Norman: its not risk, its benefit. You assess what materials you have, what they cost and what you get out of them.

        Reverse is true in that composite wing was assessed as not workable for that small size (ROI wise) as it had to be beefier and an aluminum wing and a composite fuselage was optima for the smaller sizes.

        So it goes, Bombardier did it the other way and it works, cost? Hard telling.

        • Name me one aircraft, big or small, that has a composite fuselage and an aluminium wing: you won’t find a single one. But I can give you a list of small aircraft that have a composite wing with an aluminium fuselage:

          Mitsubishi MRJ: Composite wing/aluminium fuselage.
          Irkut MC-21: Composite wing/aluminium fuselage.
          Bombardier C Series: Composite wing/aluminium fuselage.
          Comac C919: Composite centre wing box/aluminium fuselage.

          Mitsubishi have designed the MRJ with a composite wing and an aluminium fuselage à la C Series. But they had to abandon the idea after encountering insurmountable difficulties. For their MC21 Irkut is seriously considering a composite wing but it may never materialize due to a lack of expertise. On the C919 Comac seriously considered doing the CWB out of composite but they cancelled it after they realized that it was beyond their technical capabilities. So far Bombardier is the only one that succeeded and here is the reason why: they have a complete mastery of the state of this art.

          • Agreed for the most part, Boeing said that a composite wing was too heavy for a single aisle.

            I don’t know that I quite buy Bombardier is the only one with complete mastery, solid basis maybe a better term. Boeing and Airbus are in that club then as well.

            It may have been Boeing propaganda rather than tech speaking, but it looks to be not a slam dunk and their may be a lot of other factors weight in rather than pure tech and mastery (at least for Mitsubishi, China an Russia are behind in that field)

            Also what gets weighted in is the labor factor, anything that reduces labor not only has near term benefits, it also has a burden of maintaining that person for their career.

            Obviously its a balance, and how each company asses that worth and cost

          • “Boeing said that a composite wing was too heavy for a single aisle.”

            Yes and that’s why the C Series is 12,000 pounds lighter than the 737.

            “I don’t know that I quite buy Bombardier is the only one with complete mastery, solid basis maybe a better term. Boeing and Airbus are in that club then as well.”

            What I had in mind is Mitsubishi, Irkut, Comac, Embraer, etc. Airbus and Boeing are of couse highly experienced with composites, but in a different way and on a different scale. So far Boeing has worked only with large aircraft like the 787. What they are doing on the 777X reminds me of what Bombardier did in Ireland: they built a dedicated factory to manufacture composite wings. As for Airbus they also have extensive experience with composites on various models, but more specifically on the fabulous A350. And they have a dedicated wing factory in England as well. But we could also say that Mitsubishi has extensive experience with composites, yet they were not capable of doing the MRJ with a composite wing as they intended to do initially. They also failed, at least partially, on the 787 wing and that led Boeing to repatriate in-house large composite projects. BBD has no experience with woven fuselage barrels à la Dreamliner, nor do they have any experience with large composite panels à la A350, and I don’t know what route they would choose if they had to design a widebody aircraft; but one thing is for sure: RTI is currently the best composite technology and Bombardier owns it.

          • Irkut is going composite on the wing, they are well advanced. You can bet Russia has some serious composite tech since they have decades of experience in the defense industry. The question with Russia is not if they can build it, but can they build it in QUANTITY and QUALITY.

          • Normand:

            I don’t know what the sotry is on the 787 wing join failure, I do know insitaly it was good. They went into weright reduction, who made the call on the wing join is to the best of my knowledge unknown.

            Franklyu I dohn’t know who is actualy responsible for the wing, is it Msitaubihy with no wing expeirene or did Boeign provide them the plans and they built it to thtose plans without understanding what they are doing?

            The question on the C series is does the wing add to the benefit or is part of the cost problem? I.e.. could they have done the same or close to the same at a lower cost?

            Also true mastery would mean the wing design is right at 150% or a tad more but not major more.

            Not that its not nice but does it contribute to the program, not is it more robust than is ever needed?

            What I do know is others have gone the other way.

            Unfortunately we don’t have a direct competitor for the C series with an aluminum wing to compare it to.

          • “True mastery would mean the wing design is right at 150% or a tad more but not major more.”

            They did not have that kind of mastery at the start of the programme, but today I am sure they would. When they initiated the detailed design phase in early 2010 they were still in the dark because they were using a brand new technology that they had to document themselves. So they had to play it safe, and they did. Just look at the CSeries specifications presented at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow, two years after launch:

            Capacity: 100 seats in standard dual-class
            Range: 2200nm

            Capacity: 120 seats in standard deal-class
            Range: 2200 nm


            Capacity: 108 seats in standard dual-class
            Range: 3100 nm

            Capacity: 130 seats in standard dual-class
            Range: 3300 nm

          • Irkut/Yakovlev is actually jumping to next generation composite wing.

            “Resin-infused MS-21 wings and wingbox
            Moscow-based aeromanufacturer uses out-of-autoclave composites in attempt to leapfrog Airbus and Boeing with wider, lighter, more efficient single-aisle airliner.’

            Cseries resin injection and autoclave is already out of date at this scale.

    • Why would you consider it a fatal mistake? Lots of plastic parts in planes for decades now.

      • Making too much of the CSeries out of Composites was its fatal mistake: it’s just too expensive to build in production.

        Both Mitsubishi (with a lot of Composites Experience) and Ebraer have said that a plane of the CSeries Size made out of Composites is a financial mistake….so they didn’t do it. Furthermore, sales of the Boeing 787-8 have virtually halted for about 2 years now, for seems like Boeing is giving up on the 787-8 because it is too small to make a profit considering its high Carbon-Fiber Content.

        Meanwhile, the Boeing 787-9 look like it will be the first High-Carbon-Composite aircraft to produce profit on a per-unit basis after more than 400 787s have been produced and sold for a deferred cost of about $32 Billion Dollars. Additionally, Airbus will not promise a profit on a per-unit basis on its A350-900 before 2019.

        So…unless Bombardier is producing a CSeries made of “Magic Carbon Fiber” interwoven with Unicorn hair and blessed by the Tooth Fairy, then I think they are going to have a helluva time ever making this aircraft profitable.

        Meanwhile, I’m going to tap the heels of my ruby slippers together and squeel, “…there no place like home” and get myself back to “Witchita” where my “Spirit” can be Free just like Dorothy.

        Hey,,,just my opinion. I could be wrong. But I’m 99,9% sure I’m right.

        Jimmy the Geek.

        • “So…unless Bombardier is producing a CSeries made of “Magic Carbon Fiber” interwoven with Unicorn hair and blessed by the Tooth Fairy, then I think they are going to have a helluva time ever making this aircraft profitable.”

          They do use all those ingredients but in unknown proportions, and their recipe is a closely guarded secret. More seriously, the exceptional performances of the C Series come mainly from the wing. The aerodynamic performances of this wing are phenomenal. And that would not be materially possible with a conventionnel wing. Also, we have to keep in mind that the technology used by Bombardier is unique in the industry. But I don’t know why exactly because it’s proprietary. The main fuselage is made of Al-Li but the rear fuselage, along with the whole empennage, are made of conventional CFRP. All this combined makes an aircraft that is 12,000 pounds lighter that the competition. So light weight and exceptional aerodynamic performances are what makes the C Series such an extraordinary aircraft. All the choices that were made, including making the fuselage with Al-Li, were the right ones. And it would not be possible to make this aircraft as good as it is without an extensive use of carbon fibre. The C Series happens to be the size where it starts to become increasingly beneficial to use composites on a large scale. The Lear 85 was not, nor the MRJ or ERJ.

          “Both Mitsubishi (with a lot of Composites Experience) and Ebraer have said that a plane of the CSeries Size made out of Composites is a financial mistake….”

          Embraer has no experience with composites on this scale. And Mitsubishi initially took the same route as Bombardier and attempted to design a composite wing for the MRJ. But they failed, just like they once did on the 787 wing. It’s not an easy job for sure but Bombardier have become masters at it. They actually own the technology. There must be something in the Irish coffee… 😉

          • Normand,

            I’m not saying you can’t be right. I mean, you may be right, and I may be all wrong.

            However, I got the History and Experience of Airbus, Boeing, Mitsubishi and Enbraer on my side and you have….an undocumented proprietry process from an airframe-maker that is on government life support (because of the same plane you say is so cool) to bolster your claims? So…do you really think what I am saying is so groundless…or speculative…or silly?

            Or…if you just want to take it down to Logic…it’s called “Burden of Proof”: anyone who makes a positive claim must submit the evidence that that claim is valid. And brother, I just don’t see how Bombardier passes that simple test regardless of how awesome its aircraft may be (and it’s a very nice aircraft in my opinion…just too expensive). In fact, I don’t even need to meet the “Burden of Proof” in order to rightly say…”I don’t believe it” concerning CSeries profitability – for the “Burden of Proof” does not require that anyone accept the unproven (much less that with a lot of historical and financial evidence against it).



          • Yes it was a big investment for Bombardier to build a brand new factory in Ireland capable of producing at least 250 wings per year. But when it will have been amortized it will become highly profitable. BBD now has a remarkable facility that has few equivalents around the world: Airbus in England, Mitsubishi in Japan and Boeing in the USA. This has been long in the making. When Shorts was owned by the British Government the project sat on the table for many years as London did not want to invest the money to develop this new RTI technology. When Bombardier took over a new sale pitch was made to the new owner and it took only hours, literally, to approve the project.
            Wanting to benefit from this remarkable technology that had been developed in-house Bombardier elected to use RTI for the C Series wing. It is the best possible solution to achieve the kind of performances offered by the C Series. It puts the aircraft in a class by itself. Not just because it saves weight but also because it offers remarkable aerodynamic performances that are simply not possible with aluminium. So if Boeing or Airbus wanted to match this up they would have to make similar choices; i.e., Al-Li fuselage and carbon wing. Where the return on the investment is questionable for carbon is on the fuselage. Carbon can be an advantage but only on a widebody aircraft. BBD wisely elected to use the more traditional Aluminium-Lithium and this decision is not contested by anyone today. And on the subject of return on the investment it is important to understand that the expertise developed by Bombardier with RTI will be used with confidence on future projects. And everybody else will still be in the catch-up mode.

          • Jimmy: Boeings issue with the 787 was not the material, it was program execution and selling the -8 for nothing.

            The -8 is just as viable as the rest, but as often is the case the move is to the -9 with better margins.

            Also its been noted that the commonality between the two was phenomenally low though the -9 looks to be a st4rach. As much as possible has been back fitted.

            So, they fouled the whole thing up with the -8, made the improvements in the -9 and gave up on the -8.

            Done right it would not have had that burden and been as successful.

            A lot of the A350 is changed after number 17 as well

          • The big investment in Northern Ireland was from the British Taxpayer

        • There are very smart (engineering) folks within BBD that wouldn’t disagree with you.

          • If this were true, and I have good reasons to believe it is not, you would have been more specific. But I suspect it is just hot air.

          • Do you actually want me to name names and get folks in trouble?

            No thanks.

            Having your little bubble burst isn’t worth someone getting a reprimand.

        • Well yes they did use some magic. Because of the process Bombardier developed the material cost for the wing is 50% lower!!! WOW!!! And the labor and manufacturing time dramatically shorter!!! All the drilling is automated as well. All the ribs are aluminum so there is also aspects of conventional construction in the wing where it made sense. Just like they decided to use AlLi for the fuse. More expensive material by the pound, but you need less of it so its roughly the same cost, for a much better product.

          • I am actually surprised A or B didn’t buy out the Bombardier commercial aviation division several months ago when things were looking grim before the Quebec bailout. The technology itself would probably have been worth the cost, but adding the C Series to their product lineup would also have allowed the purchaser to cancel the poorly-selling A319neo or 737 MAX 7 programmes.

          • A buy out of Bombardier would be the same as Russia trying to buy Lockheed Martin, it would NEVER be allowed by the Quebec or Canadian govt. NEVER. Bombardier is the most important Industrial company in Canada by MILES!!! The entire Canadian aerospace policy is built on and around Bombardier.

          • Well they were going to let Russian buy Airbus so not so far fetched!

            Of course that was before they were reminded once again that Russian plays by its own rules!

  12. Looks like it needs a downward angled winglet/fence, maybe two feet down and raked at high sweep to a trailing point.

    As the CSeries is stretched, it will hit rotation angle problems, which makes me think there will be no CS700, but if the wing is strong, how many tons will a CS500LR eventually go to?

    • I’m not an engineer but I would like to know the answer !

    • “Looks like it needs a downward angled winglet/fence, maybe two feet down and raked at high sweep to a trailing point.”

      It was revealed last week that there is a new winglet in the works for the C Series that will bring a 5% improvement. But it not clear to me for which model: the CS100 or CS300, or both. All I know is that the CS300 has better range presently than the smaller CS100, contrary to what one would expect for a larger variant with an identical wing. But the explanation may be that both models share a similar winglet design which would have been optimized for the CS300. Don’t quote me on this for I am just speculating.

      • Ugh. Sylvain Faust strikes again.

        There is NO WAY that a new winglet will give 5% fuel burn reduction. Indeed, its extremely unlikely to give 0.5% if the preceeding winglet was in any way optimised for the job.

        He’s either typo’d or completely picked up the wrong end of the stick.

        • I agree with you that it is a very high figure, but I thought I had seen the same information somewhere else, perhaps from a more reliable source, but I can’t remember clearly. Anyway, we have already seen this kind of performance improvement with Boeing in the past. But the effectiveness of those devices depends heavily on the flight profile. In the meantime I will side with you until this information is confirmed or denied.

          • And if it needs a winglet then has Bombardier truly master the composite wing?

            Boeing does not put those on its NEW aircraft! (or new wings)

            Just sayin. (I hate that phrase but I couldn’t help myself this time)

  13. http://media.wix.com/ugd/4f7666_60cbb521682446adb84832086b85af96.pdf?dn=C%20Series%20vs%20H19QR%20and%20H20QR%20MCA.pdf

    Let me bring a little MCA (Multi-Criterion Analysis) in here to spoil the party : I have intimated elsewhere and maintain here that C Series competes in the RJ class and not in the Feeder class. As a feeder the C Series is obsolete in the egg, folks … Sorry to put a damper on the general enthusiasm. The C Series is being brought to the baptisfont in 2016, some 29 years or more than a human generation after the last clean-sheet Feeder design, ie the A320 Series. Consequently you would expect some progress socially speaking, ie in the way this aircraft shall be serviced … but NO, Bombardier designed the C Series as yet another BULK LOADED aircraft, taking us back to the late ’50-ies (to the 707) in terms of service ergonomics. Factually, the C Series teams up with the MAX, both are BULK LOADERS. What will this mean to Delta airport dockers ? 125 units CS 300 (for the sake of simplicity) times 8 rotations per day, times 78 % average cabin factor, times 50 % checked-in items per pax, times 8 manipulations (one from conveyor belt onto trolley, one from trolley onto hold belt, two inside the hold, times two upon arrival to unload, times 16 kg per item = 125 x 135 x 0.78 x 0.50 x 8 x 8 x 16 = six thousand seven hundred and forty metric tonnes moved daily by muscular force. This is the heroic feat that Delta Management expect from Delta airport Dockers every day in and day out throughout the service life of the C Series fleet.

    • So when does the pitch for the HCS100QR / HCS300QR come?! =:-)

      • @ Aero Ninja : Primo, the curvature of the C Series fuselage is too pronounced, there is hardly room for an adult in the upright position one seat away from the sidewall, there’s a risk for headbang from the upper part of the wall-panel curving in upon the heads. Deuxio, the twinaisled C Series would be 1+2+1 in Y-class, so the centre overhead stowage bin would be (a little less than) two Y-class seats wide, ie not large enough for the needs of carry-on. Tertio, there’s nothing to gain from payfreight in the cargo holds, as the holds are bulkloaded. It’s up to BBD to showcase the cargo capabilities of their C Series, but to my own appraisal, the answer is : NIL, inexistent, not applicable. In summary, we may probably forget HC1QR and HC3QR etc… but thanks for asking, Aero Ninja, you made a point ! Alain Bellemare is welcome. He may feel free, my IP protections only covers eventual Boeing and Airbus HQR applications.

    • I suspect they talked to customers before they made this decision no? What % of the cargo is luggage (hand loaded) vs cargo?

      • And then we have the weight of the containers, so there are offsetting costs, no free lunch.

        I too am disappointed that the HCS100QR / HCS300QR does not apply here, who knew?

  14. Laugh of the Day:

    Airbus and Boeing are making snide remarks about the C series.

    Leahy call it a nice small aircraft and both made disparaging comments about the 500 million write down. Airbus did the same thing as I recall.

    Hmm, one from a company that gets launch aid that no one has oversight over that we don’t know what the terms are (not to mention National subsides from the partner countries as well) .

    Then there is the biggest corporate welfare pig in the world (Boeing) who gets billions of tax breaks from Washington state as well as South Carolina tax breaks (and pays no taxes) not to mention a dubious at best and should be made illegal (for tax purposes) accounting practice.

    I would say its a case of a volcanic pot calling a nice white beach (by comparison) black.

  15. “Airbus and Boeing are making snide remarks about the C series. Leahy call it a nice small aircraft and both made disparaging comments about the 500 million write down. Airbus did the same thing as I recall.”

    Speaking of write down I am anxious to see Boeing’s own figures when they annonce one for the Dreamliner. I was also struck by Leahy’s own remark because he had said almost the exact same thing at the last Paris Air Show: referring to Pierre Beaudoin, who had invited him to tour the C Series, he said “Pierre you’ve got a nice little airplane, but I am not worried.” And at an ensuing press conference he also said this: “No, I don’t mean to insult Montréal in any way, but the last couple of years I’ve not really noticed they’re much of a competitive threat to us or Boeing.” I wonder what he is going to say next time at Farnborough.

    • “No, I don’t mean to insult Montréal in any way, but the last couple of years I’ve not really noticed they’re much of a competitive threat to us or Boeing.”

      And yet Boeing sold 40 737-700s to United at a loss to keep them from buying the C Series. That’s a strange thing to do if the C Series isn’t a threat.

    • I am certainly not an apologist for JL but is the CSeries a threat in the short to medium term? At present the initial ramp will take us to 2019 and 100-120 frames a year (this number is open to some revision). So to further ramp we would need a further line to take to the capacity of 250/year for wings in NI. BBD cannot go low on price and are at present in a niche area re size that is not well served by A and B.

      In my view the impact of competition is not about the 100/300 but instead may become an issue with the 500. Even then the volumes for the appreciable future will be relatively modest against the overall market size. By that stage ie 10 years hence both the big boys will have to revisit the SA sector due to the multiple threats to their market and should be able to develop a very competitive alternative.

      • “I am certainly not an apologist for JL but is the CSeries a threat in the short to medium term?”

        The CSeries is already having a big impact on Airbus because they have to lower their prices more than they are used to. A duopoly is a lot more comfortable and predictable that an oligopoly, and this new situation gives considerably more negotiating power to the airlines. For now the CSeries represents only a tiny fraction of the narrowbody orders. But an aircraft is a very different kind of goods than say a cell phone. The best selling cell phone has a market life of about six months whereas an aircraft can last more than 50 years: the 737 entered service 49 years ago, in 1967, and the A320 entered service 28 years ago, in 1988. A&B have a huge backlog of thousands of airplanes and they could last almost ten years with little effort. But the impact the C Series is having is that it upsets the dynamic of the narrowbody market and takes the Big Two outside of their comfort zone. In short the party is over.

        • @ NH

          I specifically said the short to medium to be fair. The volumes do not present a material impact on the overall market. Fair enough there is pricing pressure but given the backlogs I don’t think this is impacting much over that time period. I stand by what I say. In terms of the long term I completely agree with you but as said both A and B will need to consider their SA offering over that timescale and have 10+ years to get their house in order. That means launching something in 4/5 years time. Airbus in particular can afford to wait and potentially benefit from technology change by then. Yes the party is over but the with a 10 year hangover first. By then the CSeries will be a venerable product but I am pretty sure a competitive one.

          • Well they are fighting it tooth and nail so they see it as some kind of threat (I think they are wrong, good strong economical C series then leads to better 737 and A320 sales.

          • I am looking at the status Quo ie the response of Max and neo already made suggests a fundamental response, fear of etc. but given that response they got close enough to the CSeries that they have some breathing space. It has been borne out by the sales figures

  16. Thanks to Bombardier and there CSeries, PW GTF and to a lesser extent the MRJ, this created a revolution in fuel saving so Mr Leahy should thank BBD and admit that Airbus felt threatened by this plane and many times slash prices to undercut BBD and won, (Qatar). So Mr Leahy is borderline arrogant and makes fun of a product which initiated the NEO. A and B will do everything to block BBD, its just that B seem to be more honest about there intention and glad that they won Air Canada to replace the A320.

    • How does Airbus working with Pratt to mature the GTF since 1998 fit in here. (Google PW8000 A320), flight testing it in 2008.

      About Air Canada they are growing their A321 fleet, low profile.

      • True the PW8000 was the precursor of the current GTF. Its Bombardier that got the ball rolling and initiated this wave of major change, never seen before, of course PW/GE/RR are working closely with A and B to improve existing engines rather then BBD who is not the most important customer. I maybe wrong but i doubt this wave would have occured without BBD, A and B would still manufacture the same product only slightly improved, without major change. The bulk of the Airbus fleet for Air Canada will be replace by the 737 and 787, yes the A321 seem to be running the show in its category and maybe the last Airbus to leave the fleet.

    • No doubts Bombardier triggered NEO and Max birth

      Then Bombardier had to (and maybe still has) to gamble the whole company to achieve the superb aircraft
      BTW Air Canada is one of the very few companies moving from A to B in the NB category

      • Keesje: I see no orders or options for A321 for AC.

        Not that it would be wrong move, but I don’t see it, where are you getting your information?

  17. The United and Delta orders were in their own ways turning points in the history of the narrowbody market. The United order showed how desperate Boeing were. Ray Conner said that “if Bombardier had won the United order that would’ve been a validation of the C Series in the marketplace. …We got pushed to the wall.” As for the Delta order I cannot imagine a better “validation of the C Series in the market place.” Delta is the largest airline in the world in terms of passengers carried annually. It is also a reference in the industry. If the C Series is good for Delta it can be good for almost anyone else. As for Airbus, many people, including myself, like to poke fun at John Leahy because he himself likes to poke fun at others, especially Bombardier. But he has somewhat softened recently. Last year he said after seeing the C Series for the first time that it was a nice little airplane. That is perhaps somewhat condescendant but it is also the best complement the C Series has ever received. On the face of it it is almost an endorsement of the product. In the past Leahy has been a lot more virulent, like when he referred to Bombardier as a skidoo company. And when the CSeries was launched at Farnborough in 2008 he said that Bombardier were very brave. But I don’t think they were that brave because they had no idea at the time how tough it would be to compete head to head with the Big Two.

  18. And this rivals an A380 entry for number of comments, well done C series!!!!!!

  19. I wonder if w’ll see any responds from Airbus. The A320 family seems optimized for 150-220 seats up to 3000NM with some upwards potential.

    The 130-160 segment up to 1000-1500NM is huge however. The A320 is sold out for many years. I know nothing of innitiatives but Airbus has no reputation of sitting on their hands waiting & watching..

    • “The 130-160 segment up to 1000-1500NM is huge however.”

      Yes, but since July 2008 we have been repeatedly told that there is no market for that category of airplane. 😉

      • Airbus and Boeing to a lesser extent ”push” the market and the airlines in believing that there is no market below 160 seats.
        * This post sure stir a lot of enthusiasm and remarks, 134 so far.

        • I have often if this trend towards upgauging will come back to haunt the industry in future. You see it everywhere these days – replacing CRJs with Q400s and E-jets, moving from A320s to A321s, converting 787-8 orders into 787-9s, etc.

          For now, demand is strong and the airlines are able to fill these larger planes. Everyone is growing and turning big profits. For their part, the manufacturers are only too happy to convert orders to larger models. When the next big downturn in air travel demand comes, however, I think there will be a glut of capacity and many carriers will find themselves with planes too big to fill.

      • Airbus and Boeing to a lesser extent ”push” the market and the airlines in believing that there is no market below 160 seats. This post sure stir a lot of enthusiasm and remarks, 134 so far.

        • Airlines push the market, not Airbus or Boeing.

          Anything under 130 seats is a regional. Said regionals are harder to sell due to more limited ability to get bucks. Scope clause does not help but pilot shortage and robbing regional to pay national is a problem as well.

          130 to 160 gets into cross over area.

          Embraer covers the lower end well, Bombadier plays (or played) there as well, MRJ is jumping in, and now the C Series lower end is there.

          No single mfg or aircraft covers the now popular 78 seat to 160 seat. You need more than one model, and optimized you need one from two different mfgs.

          So it goes.

          • “Anything under 130 seats is a regional.”

            Where did you get that figure from? Why not 120, or 140, or 110, or 150? Why not 100 to get a neat number? But whatever number you will choose there will always be a crossover. I am sure there is an official classification somewhere that defines a particular category and specifies where it starts and ends.

          • Heck Airbus has a regional version of the A330!!! lol

          • Normand:

            I pulled it out of my hat! Just a ball park.

          • Mark from Tor:

            Yea they do but class also defines region. single aisle vs wide aisle.

            I think of single aisle regions in terms of the US, Western region, Mid West, East.

            What is regional in one are is trans region in others. Also population density is far less in West than Mid West and East.

            Western US is as big as Europe. So regional is on the high side. California is really a region onto itself, sort of a slice of East Coast.

            Ergo, my WAG covers a lot.

          • What defines a regional aircraft is not the part of the country where it operates anymore than scope clauses. We could simply categorize regionals by their weight; but for discussion sake I would prefer size and number of passengers carried. For example it is obvious that the CRJ is a regional aircraft, after all CRJ stands for Canadair Regional Jet. But when we get to the E-Jet it’s a bit more complicated, for it can both be used as a regional or mainline jet. But since it is a four-abreast it cannot hold much more than 100 seats, and in my book that would qualify it as a regional more than a mainline. The transition would occur more clearly with a five-abreast like the DC-9 family (MD-80/90/717) that can hold between 100 and 150 seats. Since airlines have long been flying aircraft of more than 100 seats, but not much less than 100, it would be fair to say that below 100 it’s a regional and above that figure a mainline. But since the E-Jet sits on both sides of the 100 figure we see the difficulty of attempting to clearly categorize. That being said it would be more insulting for Bombardier to be told that their C Series darling is a regional jet than Embraer with their more ambivalent E-Jet.

  20. Sowerbob: “That means launching something in 4/5 years time. Airbus in particular can afford to wait and potentially benefit from technology change by then.”

    The situation is different for Airbus than it is for Boeing. The former has a relatively modern platform that is better adapted to the new type of engines that we see today (large fan); whereas Boeing has a much older architecture that is much less suited for this new requirement. I am of the opinion that Boeing should have acknowledged this reality early on and made the necessary adjustments; i.e., a clean-sheet design. But that takes courage and it is often those who accuse others of being cowards that lack courage themselves. To get back to Airbus, I would say that they are in a more favourable position. The A320 was a very advanced aircraft when it first came out; and it had a relatively large cargo area, a first in that category; and a tall landing gear that can accommodate any type of engine. It is a winning combination. But it’s very heavy. That is where the C Series has the edge, at the lower end of the segment. Yet, if Airbus can still sit on it for a extended period of time I am afraid this will not be possible for Boeing because the 737 business case is deteriorating fast. There is no way out but to design a new narrowbody aircraft. But unfortunately for Boeing there are no game-changing technologies on the horizon that would allow Boeing to make a significantly better aircraft than the C Series. But they have no choice, so they will have to build a new one anyway and at a great cost. This means it will be less competitive than the C Series (and A320), just like the C Series is less competitive today than the 737 and A320. That is what I mean when I say that the party is over. But for Airbus all that means is that they can go home and have a good night sleep while Boeing stays behind to wash the dishes.

    • @NH

      Tend to agree but why would a Boeing investment need to be an order of magnitude removed from the CSeries?

      • Essentially for two reasons:

        1. When Boeing will initiate a 737 replacement the C Series will have been launched for more than ten years. Inflation alone would make the development costs higher.

        2. The cost structure of Bombardier is lower than Boeing’s, just like the cost structure of Embraer is itself lower than BBD’s.

        When Boeing looks at its own backlog it is clear to them that they have plenty of time. Boeing has been dominating the market for more than fifty years now in the widebody category and more than thirty years in the narrowbody sector. So they probably feel invincible and for a good reason. So I assume that they are blinded by their own success and no matter how they will always prevail. They did not even believe Airbus when they said they were going to launch the A380. But they did. And like Richard Aboulafia they probably thought that no matter how good the C Series is the company would not survive A&B’s repeated assassination attempts. But they did. And Boeing doesn’t feel any urgency because they are awash with cash. And like Bombardier previously lost the big picture because they had been focussing on manufacturing costs for too long, Boeing also seems to have lost the big picture because they are focusing to intensely on production output. Because the more airplanes they can deliver out the door the more money they will be able to bring in. If money is a drug I suppose we could say that Boeing has become a drug addict. And they sure have all the symptoms: instead of investing in a 737 replacement they buy back shares. They worry only about their immediate future and don’t pay enough attention to what might lay below the quarterly horizon.

        That being said, I am sure Boeing has a backup plan. What I mean by that is that Boeing must be secretly working on a 737 replacement just like we suspect Bombardier have themselves secretly been working on the CS500 for some times. And guess what, when Bombardier will announce the CS500, with Delta as the likely launch customer, Boeing will immediately respond with the NSA, and the skirmishes that we have been witnessing until recently will quickly escalate into a full-scale war.

        • I think it is very silly and childish for these companies to engage in such a destructive war in the midst of such a boom. The fact is, they are doing their shareholders a HUGE disservice. For Boeing to destroy its entire pricing structure just to keep BBD out of United is ABSURD. Now EVERYONE knows how far they will go. Even if they did win and were able to wipe out Cseries, the program would be sold to the Chinese which would be DISASTROUS for Boeing and Airbus.

          • If Boeing sold the 737-700 at cost to fill the end of the line, seems like a rational economic move regardless of the CS.

            What’s the average price of the thousands of A320neos that have been sold? Maybe that’s the destructive pricing structure most affecting the market.

          • “If Boeing sold the 737-700 at cost to fill the end of the line, seems like a rational economic move regardless of the CS.”

            Rational economic move, really? I think the rational was to block the C Series more than selling a few 737 at a lost. Here is what Ray Conner had to say about this fire sale: “If Bombardier had won the United order that would’ve been a validation of the C Series in the marketplace. …We got pushed to the wall.” Pushed on the ropes would perhaps be a more fitting expression.

            “What’s the average price of the thousands of A320neos that have been sold?” One could ask the same question for the thousands of 737 MAX that were sold. Even if the present situation is a duopoly they still compete with each other fiercely. And it would be naive to assume that only one of the two lowers its prices while the other stands by as an innocent victim. I think they both play hard ball. It’s a sporty game after all. But I think that between the Big Two the battle is self-regulated and has its own internal mechanism to prevent mutual destruction. With Bombardier it is a completely different situation as both parties have come to a tacit agreement that no one else should be admitted inside this exclusive club. That’s why they take off their gloves as soon as Bombardier enters the ring.

        • @NH

          Yes it will be more but I talked of an order of magnitude ie 2x or 3x higher and I don’t think you can substantiate that. Having said that Boeing seems to consistently have the highest development costs when compared to others (Airbus included) from the limited information made available

          • “Yes it will be more but I talked of an order of magnitude [*] ie 2x or 3x higher and I don’t think you can substantiate that.”

            I don’t really know by how much. All I know is that inflation alone already favours any older design. Just ask Bombardier. They have to sell the C Series at a price that is commensurate with what it cost them to develop the aircraft. It’s the same for Boeing and Airbus of course, but their development costs have long been amortized. By the time the NSA will have hit the market the C Series should itself have been largely amortized and will allow BBD to more comfortably lower its prices. During that same period Airbus will have it a lot easier: they will just sit on it between return trips to the bank. So if we combine inflation with Boeing’s higher cost structure I am sure we are close to a factor of two. So if it cost 6-7 billion to develop the C Series it would be fair to assume that it could cost as much as 12-15 billion to develop the NSA. Which explains why Boeing is so reluctant.

            “Having said that Boeing seems to consistently have the highest development costs when compared to others (Airbus included) from the limited information made available.”

            I have never said that Boeing had higher development costs than Airbus. What I have often said is that Boeing has higher manufacturing costs because they use les automation and therefore need more manpower to build an airplane. But that situation is changing fast and the 777X is a good example. I think Boeing will use that experience on the NSA. But I originally thought it would be the other way around: when Airbus launched the neo I was hoping Boeing would immediately respond with the NSA and later use the experience gained on the smaller aircraft to prepare the ground for the larger one. I still think that what a mistake.

            *An order of magnitude means ten times more (10x) mathematically speaking.

      • If the history of opinions (whereof avgeek comments here @ LNC) is consistent and reflects correctly the Market, then to create a head-on competitor to C Series would be foolish, since the expressed consensus (including from Boeing and Airbus themselves) is that the market : (1) is centered in the 150-220 pax bracket; and (2) is growing in unit size (bigger is beautiful); and (3) contingent markets are marginal in numbers (ie the 120-160 market is marginal, and the MOM market is marginal), wherefore “there can only be one” (dixit the Highlander). So better not make another C Series, the Bombardier one is enough ?? Oder ??

  21. When Airbus and Boeing build a new wing, it will most likely be built for a 200 seat aircraft. Tough to put that large a wing on a 150 seat aircraft and still compete with the CS.

    • That is why I have proposed that Boeing makes a new narrowbody aircraft to replace both the 757 and 737 with a single fuselage and two wings; a long-range wing for the higher capacity (stretched fuselage) 757 replacement and a medium-range wing for the lower capacity (base fuselage) 737 replacement.

      • We discussed before, Embraer is doing it for the E2. Now they’re even optimizing specifically for the E195. Obviously they think it is worth the effort/ investment.

        Maybe the one wing suits all era is over.

        http://i191.photobucket .com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/Boeing%20MoM%20NSA%20797%20MNA%20A322%20Airbus%20keesje_zpsyczimwib.jpg

        • Keesje, I have somme difficulty to reconcile what you say today with what you said las December:

          Normand I think “one shoe fits all” designs are a thing of the past in todays competitive environment.

          Cheap, practical derivatives like the A319, 737-700, A350-800, 777-8, 737-9, 787-3 appear attractive but prove too compromised to succeed.

          A MoM needs to be a MoM to be real good. Same for a 6-8 flights a day shuttle. If you really optimize two variants, you may end up with two compromized aircraft. No dinner for a lunch’ price.


          • Normand, I wouldn’t say aircraft with the same fuselage but different wings, wingboxes, engines and landing gears are a”one shoe”. E.g. 707,727,737, 757 or A300,A310, A330, A340, A345/6.

            Neither a NSA MoM 797 Common fuselage as I linked before.

    • DL states they are upgauging the fleet. One for one replacements are not a strategy and they’ll consider used A320’s and 738’s next year to optimize the fleet mix. A321s are 30% more efficient than M88s and they dodn’t discus NEO’s. I would conclude all options for all types are open.

  22. Delta is welcome to upgauge to A380 on as many routes as they want, long haul or domestic, feel free to ask, Ed !

    • Delta is already using the A380 on as many routes as it wants – zero!

      Anderson has been quite clear that he thinks the A380 is very difficult to operate profitably. I can’t think of a single DL route where it would be appropriate.

      • “I can’t think of a single DL route where it would be appropriate.”

        It’s too bad because the A380 would fit very well with the quality of service Delta wants to offer to its customers. Think of it: the A380 at the top end and the C Series at the lower end, wow!

      • I think Delta is using the A380s on many routes, filling them, selling seats on code share flights with e.g AF and Korean.

        • Perhaps on the trans-Atlantic routes where DL and AF have a joint venture, but I doubt DL puts many people on AF metal to SIN, PVG, or JNB.

          As for KE, their relationship with DL is notoriously bad (although that’s mostly DL’s fault). The lack of a good Asian partner is one of the main reasons DL has been building up its own trans-Pacific hub at SEA. Again though, that’s primarily a point-to-point operation using smaller A330s and in future A350s. The A380 is best suited to heavy hub-centric operations, which is not a model used very often in North America (at least for long-haul).

          • Delta is selling ticket on Korean A380 flights from LAX, JFK and ATL and dozens of onward connections.

          • Go to delta.com and try to book a flight to Asia with the TPAC leg operated by KE. You can occasionally find one through JFK or ATL, but only with the KE leg in full-fare Y/J for thousands of dollars more. For LAX-ICN, they don’t even show the KE flights as options!

            Trust me, DL isn’t putting diddly-squat onto KE’s A380s.

          • I checked and you are correct. Having flown both carriers very recently, I have to say, although I sympathise with DL/NWA, the difference is enormous. Seatspace, catering, entertainment, crew service, everything. Would I make an extra stop in ICN to fly KE ? Yes I would/ did.. Maybe KE just doesn’t need DL from CA..

  23. Scott: is this an all time post record?

    And I see hints of Boeing threatening Alabama if their senator does not comply!


    Hopefully the Supremes get corrected and they rule per the constitution ion one of these days on those issues and not some fabricated creationism (yes I know that political but CU and money is freedom of speech?, phew)

    I believe the comer clause is in affect here and the insane completion between states is indeed a commerce issue that allows corporations to play states off against each other to the detriment of the country.

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