CSeries starts operations from London City Airport

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 09, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Bombardier (BBD) CSeries has done its first revenue flight to London City Airport. It was a scheduled Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) flight from Zurich that landed on the airport yesterday.

With the CSeries operational from London City, the route network that can be flown from the downtown airport changes significantly. Europe out to Moscow or Las Palmas is accessible and an all business class CS100 could fly direct to New York.

CSeries is a game changer for London City Airport

“The inaugural commercial flight of the Bombardier C Series by SWISS is a landmark moment for London City Airport, and the culmination of five years preparation to bring this next generation aircraft into operation,” says Richard Hill, Chief Commercial Officer at London City Airport.

“The introduction of the CSeries is an important part of London City’s growth plans. As one of the quietest and most fuel efficient commercial jets in its class, and thanks to its longer range, we can also unlock opportunities for new routes, including the possibility of non-stop services to the east coast of USA, Russia, the Gulf and Middle East,” says Hill.

CS100 routes from London City

The CS100 more than doubles the range of the airliners presently flying from London City airport, Figure 1.

The figure shows the range for the CS100 compared with the aircraft it replaces at SWISS, the BAe 146. Embraer’s E-190 is also certified for London City operations. It has about the same range as the BAe 146 when taking off from the short runway.

Figure 1. Range for CS100 and other airliners from London City airport. Source: BBD.

The CS100 has a range of over 2,000nm, when operating with a filled 125 seat cabin like the SWISS CS100 that just landed on the airport. This opens routes to Moscow, Athens and Las Palmas from downtown London.

With an all business class aircraft with 44 seats, New York can be reached with a direct flight by the CS100. The flight back from New York will go direct as well.

London City Airport in perspective

Figure 2 gives some traffic data for London City airport and describes the special approach needed to avoid the high buildings in the airport’s vicinity.

Figure 2. London City airport data and special approach. Source: BBD.

The airport offers a very convenient commute compared to London’s Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted or Luton airports. Instead of an hour commute or more, the Docklands Light Railway will take passengers from London City underground stations to the airport in 10 minutes.

What does the CS100 mean to London City?

The CSeries is the first aircraft flying to/from London City with very high bypass engines (the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G). The result is a noise footprint which is one half of the present airliners flying on the airport, Figure 3.

Figure 3. Key data for CS100 flying from London City airport. Source: BBD.

With a lower noise load on the surroundings, the operations from London City can increase, taking advantage of the increases route networks possible with a modern long-range aircraft like the CS100.

54 Comments on “CSeries starts operations from London City Airport

  1. Similar advantages at Southampton too, which doesn’t take any longer to get to than Heathrow from the centre of London and obviously a lot less from Southampton. These advantages must also apply to many other airports,why isn’t CS 100 selling more?

    • Although the CS100 does it hat it does very well, its still a relatively niche aircraft. Would be my guess. Useful only for dedicated low volume relatively short range hops. I think it will gain momentum in orders though. The arrival of the Irkut MC21, Comac C919 and Embraer E190 series certainly provides competition too in those countries. The CS300 has a bright future too.

    • Don’t think so. When I drive from London to my home (just 5 miles N of Southampton airport), I have first to drive past LHR and then still have another hour’s onward journey time from where I pass T5.

      CSeries production is sold out to 2020. US companies fence-sitting and waiting for an outcome from Boeing’s ‘unfair trade’ litigation in the US?

      I expect news quite soon now of a second airline to operate CS100 out of LCY.

      • OK that information is wrong, but I’ve checked and there’s not much in it. London to Southampton on the train takes one and a half hours on average on average (can be one hour and 14 minutes) and the airport is nearer. Heathrow express 15-21 minutes but expensive. Underground about an hour.
        Plane ticket is also likely to be cheaper.
        Noise is probably the most important factor with this type of urban airport. Living where you do, I expect that you will be delighted to have the C series operating from Southampton.

        • Train London Waterl00 – Soton Parkway + bus transfer = c. 1hr 38

          Heathrow Express – T’s 3 & 5 direct served directly = <= 15 min

          Read 'em and weep 🙂

          Actually there is no noise problem here from Soton airport as things are. Approaches for landing are from the north, passing by us about a mile to the east. Unless sitting outside and with a wind from the east, one hears nothing at all. The noisier take-offs are in a southerly direction and straight out to sea, so these aren't bothersome either. However, if large and heavy aircraft used the port, the situation would, doubtless not be so good. A 319s are fine though – though you might get a different view from those living in the 4 km or so between the runway and the sea.

          • I think T2 (and T4?) are more like 25 minutes, though, given the fairly lengthy connection required. But still quicker than Soton.

          • Bus transfer? The official walking time from Southampton parkway to terminal – 60 SECONDS. You could easily wast the remaining time difference walking around Heathrow and getting to your boarding gate, never mind the at least half an hour more clearing customs.

      • While it may be sold out till 2020, what are the monthly production numbers? It must be low compared to Boeing and Airbus. Waiting 3 or more years for delivery may hurt sales and with the new and upgraded similar aircraft being offered, it may be hard sledding for the company from Canada.

        • Production is slowed due to P@W issues with engine. They will be at full production by end of 2018. Next years guidance is approx 60 aircraft reaching full production of 100 in 2019 and 120 by 2020. New aircraft specs will upgraded soon all the numbers point to above average expectations. Better fuel economy/range than originally listed will get the buyers on board. It may seem slow but this plane will have a 30 year production lifespan. Remember Boings top seller the 737 family was designed over 40 years ago. We will be eating into boeings profits soon enough and it will take them 5-10 years to catch up. Plus no more freebie sales pure profit sales only.

    • I used to catch a flight from Southampton to Leeds Bradford. The airline was ambitiously named “Yorkshire International Airlines”. I couldn’t decide if the the ‘international’ part of their service was Southampton, or Edinburgh (their only other destination), or just anywhere outside of Yorkshire. They had a Bandeirante, and it was excellent in every important way.

      Southampton in those days was a runway, and a hut that seemingly doubled up as a store for the lawn mower as well as the terminal. Ah, happy flying.

      I once asked a Cathay pilot (coming back from Hong Kong) to get a weather report for Southampton. He got back a worried message enquiring why he was planning to land in Southampton instead of LHR…

  2. Such a beautiful aircraft, and such a great location for an underused airport. Synergy there me thinks as time moves on, and older/smaller niche fleets get replaced by the LCY carriers.

    Let’s hope Toronto Downtown and Porter Airlines get an OK from the Canadian government based on LCYs success.

    • I am in Toronto and sadly I do not see the CSeries being approved for Island Airport anytime soon if ever. A very small but vocal group of opponents caused the politicians to cower and reject the CSeries. The group is made up of very privileged people who have homes on Toronto Island or yachts moored at the adjacent yacht club. Their opposition was based on the fact that the CSeries was a “jet” and the technologically illiterate politicians – unaware that there is little difference between a turbo fan and turbo prop agreed to ban the “bad jet” (although the ultimate decision to ban the jet was made by the transport minister – a former Astronaut – who should have known better). For it’s part Porter did a poor job selling the city on the benefits of the CSeries. If ever approved the CSeries will be quieter than the Q400’s Porter currently operates .

      • It wasn’t just a matter of lifting the jet ban. They also needed to extend the runway by another 1,000’/336m, half of which would have gone into harbour. That wasn’t popular with a lot of people in the city core.

        Don’t forget there were a lot of tight races in Toronto between the Liberals and NDP in the last federal election. If the Liberal government lifted the jet ban and approved the runway expansion, they’d be at risk of losing those urban seats. Those Liberal MPs fought very hard against the airport changes.

        The Conservatives have almost no chance of winning seats in downtown Toronto, so the next time they’re in power we may see things change at YTZ. That’s particularly true if the Conservatives win a bunch of seats in Quebec where Bombardier is based.

        As a frequent Porter flyer who doesn’t live in Toronto, I strongly support the island expansion. Since a third of the country is basically forced to connect through YYZ/YTZ to get anywhere, operational decisions at those airports should serve the needs of the entire region, not pander to local interests.

        • As a complete outsider, it seemed to me to be a beneficial extension.

          I am pretty solid environmental, but also a realist.

          Jobs are what allows us the latitude to be green.

          China is an example of the other end, I think there can be a middle ground.

        • True , if the conservatives get back in power we may see expansion of the Island Airport approved. It is a shame the conservatives didn’t push through airport expansion when they were last in power and had the chance (one of many things they failed to do when they had the chance e.g. sell off CBC).

        • I get the impression that the people who would get to fly in Porter C-Series out of Billy Bishop are not a majority of the entire region but rather the privileged few who can afford it.

          Getting taxpayers to extend the runway in both directions to enable that is, for many, the icing on the cheekiness cake.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think it would be cool to have the C-Series flying out of Billy Bishop and the Dash 8s flying in and out of there now are pretty loud, especially when reversing the prop pitch when landing. But you are looking at many major changes, some quite expensive, all at once that do have a major impact on the whole waterfront area, including tourism and recreation, just for the benefit of a very small minority of people

          By the by, there do seem to be quite a few more flights in and out of the airport than I used to remember. One think that the locals were afraid would happen.

          • Porter is not expensive, so I don’t think their pax would be just the “privileged few who can afford it” — it would be convenient for anyone living or working in downtown, much like LCY.

          • How is Porter for “the privileged few”? Their prices are almost always lower than Air Canada or Westjet.

            Almost everyone I know chooses Porter because of convenience. If you’re going to Toronto, it saves so much time landing downtown instead of way out at YYZ. The only problem with Porter is the limited number of destinations within range of the Q400.

          • Ok, I guess I remembered something incorrectly. I was under the impression Porter was planning premium class flights out of YTZ.

        • I have felt for years airports should not be subject to local laws and regulations especially when upgrading is done on airport land. It took Boston’s Logan airport 20 years to gain approval for a 5000 foot runway entirely on airport land. The scope of air travel and the jobs it creates are vital to the local economy and locals oppose any project proposed by an airport. The number of people flying increases every year and airports need to keep pace with longer and new runways,new terminals, and expanded parking lots.
          Until control is taken away from local politicians who mostly pander for votes from the loud core of anti airport whiners who continue to buy homes near airports and then complain about the noise, airports will be hard pressed to offer new service without certain upgrades.
          Its been my experience that those who oppose any airport improvements know very little about the project and the impact it will have on the area and economy. I have heard rants made about a small commercial airport that wanted to add 900 feet to its 5600 foot runway such as, 1. 747’s will be landing at the airport, 2. Jet aircraft will sink into the ground, 3. Planes will be landing and taking off every few minutes. A relatively few malcontents stand in the way of many airports trying to meet the needs of local travelers. Let the FAA make decisions regarding airport improvements as they are in the best position to know what is needed, not the locals who love to find something to protest against.

    • The BA A318 is the ACJ version, so was extra tankage. You could do anything with the corporate versions of single aisles!

  3. Flew into London City a couple of weeks back and never mind the travel time, it’s the time taken to get through the airport. Heathrow can take an age to actually get out of (up to an hour from Landing depending on queues at passport control), with LCY you can be on the DLR (docklands Light railway) in 10-15 mins.

    As for the A318, whilst it can do JFK->LCY, westbound it stops (stopped?) in Ireland (Shannon) to fuel as it could not carry the fuel needed with the headwind, anyone know of it’s max range from LCY?

    • Fully agree, whenever we have to go to a place not directly flown from LHR, the case for more and more locations it seems, then the obvious option is a quick trip from the City to LCY and hop to AMS/FRA as required and from there on. It feels like you have 10 minutes between arriving and being on the aircraft. Definitely the way to travel.

    • AFAIK, it could get only as far as Shannon and not a whole lot further. Barely worth lifting the undercarriage…

      A C series all the way to NYC – impressive stuff!

  4. Bjorn Fehrm: “The CS100 has a range of over 2,000nm, when operating with a filled 125 seat cabin like the SWISS CS100 that just landed on the airport.”

    Bjorn, my understanding is that Swiss chose the base MTOW of 121,000 lb rather than 134,00 lb as the maximum would allow. Does your figure of 2,000 nm takes this into consideration or is it a nominal figure supplied by Bombardier for LCY?

    To be more specific with my question, where does the 2,000 nm limit come from: fuel capacity or MTOW?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect that the Swiss CS100s are not equipped with a centre fuel tank, which would limit their range on any runway.

    So what I would like to know is the CS100 range, when operating out of LCY with a full load of passengers, for the two different MTOW’s that are available as an option: 121,000 lb and 134,000lb.

    Thanks, Normand

    • Hi Normand,

      you are TOW limited out of LCY, at about the MTOW of the SWISS version if they have the version you say. And it gives you 2000nm+. The CS100 is fuel limited at 4,000nm so no problem there. I can’t believe you can get the CSeries without active center tank, you loose 14,000 of 22,000l.

    • Specifications
      CS100 CS300
      Maximum payload 33,350 lb / 15,127 kg 41,250 lb / 18,711 kg
      Operating Empty Weight 77,650 lb (35,221 kg) 81,750 lb (37,081 kg)
      Fuel capacity 38,875 lb / 17,630 kg 37,950 lb / 17,213 kg
      Maximum range 3,100 nmi / 5,741 km 3,300 nmi / 6,112 km

      these specs are older. Bomber will be udating these soon and the numbers keep getting better than expected

  5. I to do not get the lack of back orders for the C series.

    Very efficient, lower landing costs, lot more airports options.

    Scope clauses obviously come into play.

    Be interesting to see when they come out with the C500 what follows.

    The old 717 is still stomping along (MD whatever) , the C is an economical dream compared to that one (though its not bad)

    • Well, 360 firm orders is not bad at all. You have to keep in mind that Bombardier is still producing the C Series at a rate of 2 aircraft per month, and next year it might be 4 per month if Pratt & Whitney can sort out its own production problems.

      The most common mistake people make with the C Series is to compare it to the 50 year old 737 and 30 year old A320. If Bombardier were to receive massive orders like Airbus and Boeing had been receiving on a regular basis until recently it would be a catastrophe.

      In French we say il faut laisser le temps au temps. In plain English: You have to give the C Series the time it needs to establish itself in the market.

    • People mention the CS 500 a lot. But they have no official plans to build it. Its in yhe same category as the A350 1100.

      • I disagree.

        I think BBD has had to reign itself in to get the ship back on keel.

        That takes severe discipline regardless of the long term benefit of the C500.

        But you can bet there is a path laid out for that even if all details are not engineered yet.

      • They have been testing the 500 in a simulator from what i hear. no funds right now to expand build the base first by 2019/2020 we should hear rumblings. Most major carriers want in Lufthansa has made it clear it would love to see a cs500 in the future. If you think boeing is pissed now just wait a couple of years. China is presently projecting 500 new airports by 2035, thats a lot of new planes required and bombardier has been partnered in China for many years in both aerospace and transportation.

  6. The Teacher’s Pension Fund of Ontario (plus a couple of other Canadian sector funds) have just completed purchase of the City Airport. From what I read the two big expenditures they intend to make are to lengthen the taxiway (its present short status visible above) and restructure the entire terminal – which is apparently starting to look its age.

    • From what I saw of Billy Bishop when I was there in June, they will also have to sooner or later build the runway a metre higher or build a flood wall around the whole airport!

  7. The proposals to improve the airport do not include lengthening the runway, however they do intend to have a taxiway running the full length of the runway (currently aircraft have to taxi up the runway, cutting the number of slots available), and increasing the number of aircraft stands.

  8. @Bjorn Fehrm

    If I suggested that the centre fuel tank might have been deactivated it is because the Swiss CS100 have a limited range of 1,900 nm according to AirInsight. Not only at LCY but anywhere. With a concomitant MTOW reduction from 134,000 lb to 121,000 lb.

    I thought the 1,200 nm range discrepancy would come from the centre tank but you are saying that the CS100 holds 22,000 litres in total and 14,000 litres are located in the centre tank. Which would leave only 4,000 litres in each wing tank.

    Unless it’s the wing tanks that have been deactivated. That would be a 8,000 litre reduction, which happens to match the 13,000 lb MTOW reduction.

    Now, how was the MTOW reduction from 134,000 to 121,000 achieved? Is it a structural limitation to make the airplane lighter? Or is it a simple software option to adjust the parameters to fit the customer requirements? I assume that Swiss selected the high-power version to be able to operate from LCY.


    • Any MTOW limit is just a paper limit to get lower landing and underway fees which are all calculated on the aircraft individuals paper MTOW in Europe. So SWISS requested that BBD certify a weight variant (WV) which had a for them convenient trade between what they needed for their route network and what fees to pay. Look into an Airbus ACAP, you’ll see 10 or more WV for this reason.

      If you limit your fuel for any reason you never delete wing tanks. You want the fuel as close to the lift as possible to mitigate structural loads at gusts etc. I don’t think SWISS has limited the fuel. With a de-papered aircraft you can always reinstate the full MTOW later or when selling the aircraft. If you fiddle with the config your residual value suffers. Any lessor (sell and lease back etc) would not agree to it for instance.

      • Thank you very much Bjorn. You have given me the best explanation I have seen so far for this particular topic.

        From what I now understand, following your explanation, any operator will determine what MTOW is needed for their operations and will get their aircraft “papered” for that particular MTOW. And they would do this to save on airport fees.

        Bjorn: “If you limit your fuel for any reason you never delete wing tanks. You want the fuel as close to the lift as possible to mitigate structural loads at gusts etc. I don’t think SWISS has limited the fuel.”

        Actually I had discussed this particular issue in my last reply but I removed it at the last minute to make my post shorter and less heavy. For I do know that normally fuel distribution is managed so that the outboard fuel load is burned last to keep mass inside the wing for as long as possible during the flight.

        However, not knowing about the “papered” MTOW I was trying to find an “out of this world” explanation for the Swiss CS100 MTOW. I now realize thad I had created a tempest in my tea cup. But the weather has no cleared and everything is fine 🙂

  9. The CSeries undoubtedly opens up European destinations from City Airport. I am just wondering the viability of TATL services. New York was the only realistic destination from City for years. Maybe the economics of the CSeries changes the game for other US destinations, but that is still a “maybe”. At the same time the Elizabeth Line that is due to open will connect Heathrow directly with the City, reducing travel time on the ground. Then there is the actual available parking positions at City Airport. More TATL service will probably increase the turn around time when compared to the current turn around times, thus claiming parking positions for a longer time. Again, good to see more European possibilities, at the same time cautious with expanding TATL services from City.

    • “New York was the only realistic destination from City for years.”

      LCY handles 4.5 million passengers a year. I doubt they all go to New York. 😉

    • I realize that more pax means more luggage, catering, etc, but on the other hand, an all-biz format has much heavier seats and tends to have significantly heavier catering.
      I don’t know what the trade-off point is, but couldn’t a C series setup similar to SAS’s special BOS-CPH 737 which seats 20 biz/66 economy be feasible? At least LCY-BOS or LCY-YUL (both are a bit shorter than to JFK).
      Something like a 24/55 layout?

  10. @sil

    I agree with everything you say but I think your figures are a little optimistic.

    Production is not where it should be more than a year after first delivery. Like you say that is because P&W cannot supply all the engines they need. Airbus has the same problem, only worse.

    However, this slow pace means it will take more time to increase the production rate. So for next year, and by my own estimate, I don’t expect them to deliver more than about 40 aircraft if P&W can supply the engines.

    And I don’t see 100 deliveries before 2020 either. They don’t have the space for that and they need to build a new secondary assembly line before they can reach the highest levels.

    But I can’t say at what rate exactly there will be saturation in the existing facility, which is a modified CRJ hangar complex. All I can say for now is that it is probably between 75 and 100. Closer to 100 I would say. But I don’t really know.

    And by the way the 737 was not designed 40 years ago. It is actually older than that. The initial concept was formulated in 1958 and first flight took place in 1967. The 737 entered service with Lufthansa in 1968.

    • 737 in 1967/1968 — back when you could go from first flight to EIS in ten months!

      • Yes, and in the 1950s if you had a state-of-the-art fighter aircraft you could go from first flight to the scrap yard in eleven months. 😉

  11. Since Delta announced its new CS100s coming in early 2018 will be stationed on the East Coast, I wonder if they are planning to fly to LCY at some point…

  12. With only 108 seats to pay for two pilots, plus navigation and landing fees, the CS100 cannot be competitive against the larger medium-haul planes such as the B737’s and A320’s (and variants thereof). It is only attractive to those near City airport who value their time highly.

    • 1. Swiss seats 117 (or a bit more if they reduce the number of blocked biz section seats), not 108.
      2. Lower weight aircraft pay lower fees.
      3. Lower trip costs (fees, and lower overall fuel burn even if per-pax fuel is more, potentially lower acquisition costs and, often lower pilot salaries for smaller aircraft) improve financial performance if the city-pair doesn’t really warrant 737-size loads. A cheaper per-passenger airplane only saves money if its full.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *