50% increase in CSeries sales forecast–but what does this mean?

Nov. 1, 2017, © Leeham Co.: For years, Bombardier forecast the 20-year market demand in the 100-150 seat sector as between 6,000 and 7,200, depending on the year of the forecast.

Airbus in 2014, the last year the OEM segmented the sector in its 20-year forecast, predicted a demand of 4,363 aircraft.

Boeing, which hasn’t publicly segmented the sector, is believed to have forecast a demand between 4,185 and 6,275 in 2013, based on information revealed during various executive presentations. The mid-point was 5,230.

In announcing the acquisition by Airbus of 50.01% of the CSeries program, Airbus CEO Tom Enders cited a 20-year demand of 6,000 aircraft.

Bombardier consistently claimed it would capture 50% of the demand it saw, or 3,000 to 3,600 aircraft, over 20 years.

But the numbers don’t match up.

50% forecast hike—but off a small base

Following the Airbus deal, the Teal Group increased its 20-year forecast of CSeries sales by 50%. In the Bombardier 3Q2017 earnings call, CEO Alain Bellemare cited the Teal change as proof the Airbus deal validates the CSeries.

He did not say what Teal Group’s change in unit numbers is, however.

Richard Aboulafia, who is Teal Group’s commercial expert, told LNC the increase went from 589 units over 10 years to 900 units. Teal does not do 20 year forecasts.

This is a far cry from the 3,000 to 3,600 units (50% of the BBD forecast) Bombardier claims it will sell over 20 years.

Bombardier has orders, options and LOIs for some 600 CSeries, but it has been incredibly slow in converting options and LOIs to firm orders.

Bellemare announced an LOI for 31 firm orders and 30 options from an unidentified carrier, believed to be European. Based on the announced list price value, the deal appears to be for the CS100. Bellemare said the deal should advance to a firm agreement by year end.


Bombardier faces strong competition from Embraer in part of this sector. The E190-E2 seats just below 100 seats in standard two-class configuration. The E195-E2 seats 120 in two-class.

In the larger 125-150 sector, Airbus will drop the poor-selling A319neo in favor of the CS300. Boeing’s revised design of the 737-7 seats 12 more passengers than the two-class, 135-seat CS300. But the 7 MAX is also a poor seller.

LNC expects Bombardier and Embraer to roughly split the smaller sector and Bombardier to dominate the larger one. But the jury is still out on what the demand truly is and how much of it Bombardier will capture.

34 Comments on “50% increase in CSeries sales forecast–but what does this mean?

  1. What’s the single aisle market for 151 to 240 seats, about 25,000 aircraft. What’s the market for 100 to 150 seats in single or mixed class? Lots of unknown unknowns. Counting the ARJ, SSJ, 737-7MAX, E2s, MRJ, CS, and CS500, 6,000 aircraft doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    • ARJ, MRJ, CRJ aren’t going to fit in 100+ seats. CS500, if ever developed, will be beyond 150.

  2. Airbus clearly couldn’t turn down a no down payment majority control of a competitor.

    Boeing and Airbus, before the Oct 16 announcement, may well have been right, that the sales (and more important, profit) opportunities in the <140 seat market are not worth pursuing. If so, Boeing is doing the right thing by sticking to its long term plan. Time will tell.

  3. What is TEALs forecast for this entire segement? 100 to 150 seat. That would be very intersting to know. If BBD does CS500 then Cseries particpates in a segment projected to be 25000 planes in the next 20 years. Is 14.4 % such a crazy expectation for a state of the art Airbus airplane?

  4. There’s rarely any real credibility in these forecasts, as they are designed to affect getting names into news cycles. Airbus still maintains a huge vla total over the next twenty years too, for the a380, though they did admit the a339 qualifies (and somehow always has) as a vla too I guess.

    But embraer is as of now not a competitor, here or for vla, per this very site. It’s good to have this 6,000 or 20,000 aircraft market to themselves.

    As an aside, I do think it’s amazing that the e2 175 is so mismatched to US scope clauses, as silly as they are. Not sure how that would impact Bombardier if one fantasized the tariff stuff evaporated overnight.

    • Tariffs only affect Cseries and not CRJ. It surprises me that BBD has not offered CRJ1000 in 76 seat format. This plane would still beat E175 in fuel economy, meet scope and offer a SUPER PREMIUM experience for regional travellers. I am pretty surprised Alaska did not consider this when they have no scope clauses either, as it would have a HUGE advantage in cost over scoped airlines.

      • Alaska is in bed with Boeing and Boeing is in bed with Embraer.

        To be honest, I have flown on CRJ700/900’s and E175’s several times and preferred the E175.

        The CRJ’s need revamping including new engines.

        • the Ejets do not have new engines and the CRJs have a new cabin, which I suspect you have not yet flown on? So if E175 is not getting new engines and CRJ has a new cabin and is more efficient and cheaper, what else do they need?

          • The CRJ’s I flew in was definitely of older generation.

    • @Texl1649:
      “..it’s amazing that the e2 175 is so mismatched to US scope clauses..”
      But no more amazing than the MJ9(MRJ90) which is equally mismatched to the U.S. regional pilot scope clauses…

      “..as silly as they are.”
      I think it has little to do with silliness but much more to do with tech realities/limitations.

      Remember, E2 is not a cleansheet program but derivatives fm E1. Key upgrades are basically more efficient A) turbofans +B) wings but unfortunately both A) & B) are significantly heavier than their predecessors. Reducing weight significantly fm the basic EJet platform structures to offset weight growth in engines+wings for E2 is neither easy nor affordable just like any other mature(i.e. 15yrs or longer in production) aircraft platform.

      No such excuse for MJ9 since MRJ is a cleansheet program but then again, a MJ7 does fit within U.S. pilot scope clause and its prototype does exist and will enter flight test nex yr. As I hv always believed, MJ7 is Mitsubishi’s backup plan in case no relief fm U.S. pilot scope clause to allow MJ9.

      • Will the COMAC ARJ21’s be allowed to be sold in the US, its heavily sponsored by the Chinese government.

        • But they have spent years and still unable to obtain a FAA airworthiness certificate for the ARJ21 aircraft.

          • Saw they got now just before Mr.T met with the Chinese President.

      • I highly doubt the MRJ70 is gonna be a very appealing plane. Its not that light, 76 seats are in sardine config as well. Like I said BBD should offer the CRJ1K in 76 seat all business. Operating economics would be really great and it would be a real differentiator to combat Ejet. If scope is loosened then they can go to 100 seats easy.

  5. From the product line-up viewpoint, it strikes me as relevant to list the CSeries sister aircraft – as the upper end regional aircraft they really are – together with ATR’s portfolio of regional aircraft. Not only will Castelbajac be pleased (wasn’t he crying to get involved in 100+ seaters ?) but clearly he and his team are the only real Regional and Commuter market experts inside the Airbus Group ! For the A319, instead of “Live and Let Die”, such a line-up would imply a chance to ‘Live and Let Live’, ie, facing the 737-700, Ernie Ford’s words find their full sense : “… if the right one don’t get you then the left one will !”

  6. Put two futurists facing each other and they will start laughing like crazy …

  7. The CS300 most likely the kingpin of the CS-series, in the short term main market replacing A319’s. There are nearly 1500 produced of which ~500 are 15 years and older, the CS300 should get at least 50% of these orders.

    Up sizing from E190’2 and down sizing from 320CEO’s could also add to CS3 sales.

    Many including myself are bullish about a CS5, but I am starting to wonder about the size of this market. It could either be really big or maybe not that great, wing and engine limitations could restrict MTOW, range and number of pax in high density layout?

    What will the cost be to develop a CS5 vs a new wing for the 320/321 for example? The MAX8 is AB’s biggest competition, focus should be to counter it. A small stretch of the 320 to ~175 seat with new wing and a LR option a bigger priority in the short term?

    This will create a natural gap between the CS3 and 320+ for an CS5.

  8. The CS100 market faces strong competition, it has however good range and field performance as stand out points. Pilot restrictions and the US Commerce Dept could damper things for it in the US. It could however find a sweet spot in India?

    In China there is ARJ21, the CS300 might however find demand between the ARJ21 and C919/320/MAX8.

  9. Just to pour some water boys and girls, it’s not a new airline that is behind this latest order.



    • @Glenn:
      “…it’s not a new airline that is behind this latest order.”
      I believe U probably meant “not a new CSeries customer that is behind…”.

      If the above assumption is correct, yes, I agree. 1.5 of the top 3 European customers which I’m guessing as most likely to be behind this LoI are existing CSeries customers…..not hard to guess given such a shortlist of CSeries customers based in Europe.

  10. The problem with much of the forecasts for this space is that it is at least partially biased by the poor relative comparison of A319/A320 and 737-700/-800.

    Airlines naturally migrated away from this in the past because the shrinks were not offering the trip cost (aka fuel burn) differential to make the smaller airframe work.

    A CS300 should make 149 seats work nicely (30 rows @ 31″ uniform pitch) – based on Air Baltic’s seat map. Saving you a flight attendant.

    At Easyjet’s current pitch of 29″, they could fit in 160 seats.

  11. Was wondering if AB is in an position to offer the CS500 to Delta for the current round of 100 new single aisles?

    Those MD88’s (and 320′) are getting old and need replacement in the not to distant future (~175 aircraft). DL’s 737-800’s (~75) are around 16+ years old while the MD93’s (~60) are 18+ years old and will also need replacement in a couple of years.

    AB’s backlog on the 320/1NEO’s backlog could be a deal breaker for them in the current new 100 aisle order that is under consideration?

    If you add the B717-200’s and A319’s (~150) that brings the total of 110-160 seat aircraft for replacement to around 450 for (75 CS100 order part of it).

    The CS100/CS300/”500″ could potentially fill a large proportion of this requirement (250+?). No wonder Boeing wants the CS series dead.

  12. The worlds busiest airline route is Jeju-Gimpo, Korean domestic, 450km, 690K pax per month, that’s around 900 pax an hour on a 24/7 basis.

    Could be an interesting one for Bjorn which options will offer the best seat overall seat mile cost. An CS300 every 10 minutes, an 330-300 every 20 minutes or an 380 every 40 minutes.

    Guess an 737-800/Max8 every 15 minutes taking planing and deplaning into consideration should be good, as will be a high density (30″ pitch) CS5?

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