Bombardier’s Delta deal looking good, but don’t celebrate yet

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Air Baltic CS300

Air Baltic will be the first operator of the Bombardier CS300. Source: Bombardier.

April 18, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Bombardier, if it didn’t dominate the news cycle in commercial aviation last week, must have come close. Consider:

  • The Wall Street Journal, and then Bloomberg, reported that BBD was near to winning a big order for 75+50 from Delta Air Lines for its C Series.
  • Reuters reported that BBD rejected demands from the Canadian federal government in Ottawa as conditions for investing US$1bn in the company. (Officials tried to walk this back some, saying talks continue.)
  • The head of corporate strategy for BBD came forward to forcefully argue for the investment as good for taxpayers, breaking what largely has been a cone of silence over the perceived merits of a deal
  • The US$1bn the Quebec provincial government agreed to invest last year remains unfunded.
  • BBD stock, which last year dropped to less than C$1, threatening the listings on the Canadian exchanges, jumped to C$1.75 at one point in anticipation of a Delta order.

While on balance, it seems likely Delta will order the C Series, Bombardier has been down this road before. Only a few months ago, the market and others were excited over the prospect that BBD was close to landing an order from United Airlines, only to see Boeing swoop in and grab the deal.


  • This is the second try at a major contract with Delta Air Lines.
  • The primary competition is against Embraer, not Airbus or Boeing.
  • We revisit our Skyline Risk Assessment, dormant for the extended period in which BBD had no sales of the C Series.

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Can Bombardier extend CS300 to a CS500?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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April 14, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Bombardier is working hard to get additional mainline airline customers for its C Series project. The latest discussion is whether Delta Air Lines would replace its fleet of Boeing MD-88s with the C Series.


Figure 1. C Series largest model, CS300. Source: Bombardier.

In this context, it’s also discussed if the largest model, the CS300, Figure 1, is large enough for Delta. This aircraft seats 135 passengers in a two class configuration and up to 160 passengers in an all economy high density version.

The question is whether this is sufficient for Delta and other mainline customers, or if a still larger version is needed in the program, the oft-discussed CS500. We decided to use our proprietary aircraft model to see if a CS500 would be straight forward for Bombardier to develop, should Delta or any other customer ask for a three model C Series program.


  • The C Series aircraft program was developed with the CS300 as the main model. The wing, engine and landing gear were dimensioned with the CS300 in mind.
  • The CS100 is a shrink of the CS300, and not vice versa (the CS300 a stretch of the CS100).
  • A tentative CS500 stretch if therefore a first stretch of the program’s main model and not a double stretch of a CS100.
  • This is evident when one starts to analyze how a CS500 would be designed. There are rather modest changes that need to be done to create an extended model that seat up to 180 passengers.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Embraer’s Fly-by-wire approach

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

08 April 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Two weeks ago we discussed the advantages of a Fly-By-Wire (FBW) system which uses feedback based flight laws. We discussed the fact that aircraft OEMs can get the desired FBW handling characteristics with smaller horizontal tail surfaces. I put forward the Embraer E-Jets as an example where the change of FBW principle allowed a 26% reduction in the horizontal tail size for the E2 generation.

At the time there were some debate on how this was achieved and what the root cause of the improvement was. Embraer followed the discussion and told me when I contacted them that my information was correct. In the interest of our readers, Embraer agreed, however, to have their FBW team to give a more complete picture of the advantages of a feedback based FBW.

Here is the team’s response. Read more

PW Canada continues next-gen turboprop development despite airplane demand uncertainty



Pratt & Whitney Canada’s next generation turboprop. Source: PWC. Click on image to enlarge.

March 24, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) continues development of the next generation turboprop engine, even as low oil prices reduce the attractiveness of turboprop airplanes.

Few believe oil prices won’t creep back up over time, once again making prop-jets attractive once again. The ancillary question is what’s next for this type airplane? An entirely new, clean-sheet design? A 90-100 seat turboprop airplane? Or retrofitting this next-gen engine on today’s turboprop airliners?


  • PWC’s new engine could be fitted to a new airplane design or retrofitted to today’s Bombardier Q400 and ATR series airplanes.
  • The 20-year market is small.
  • The 20-year market for a 90-seat turboprop is smaller still.
  • Embraer is evaluating whether to reenter the turboprop market, 15 years after the last mass-produced Brasilia rolled off the assembly line.
  • GE is developing a turboprop engine and at least three countries have interest in this sector.

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Nordic Aviation Capital completes second major acquistion

March 15, 2016: Nordic Aviation Capital yesterday announced it acquired regional aircraft lessor Jetscape Aviation Group. This is the second major acquisition since December. Then, NAC agreed to acquire 25 ATR turboprop aircraft from Air Lease Corp., which decided to focus entirely on jets, most of which are mainline aircraft. All but a handful of the ATRs were already leased, with the remaining still in production.

Nordic had nearly 250 aircraft from the ATR and Bombardier Dash and Q families, plus a small number of Bombardier CRJs, Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s. The Jetscape acquisition brings Embraer EJets to the Nordic portfolio.

“The deal will see Nordic Aviation Capital expand into the regional jet arena, bringing 28 owned Embraer E-Jets, commitments for 11 E-Jets and a further 18 of the type under management into its sizeable regional aircraft portfolio,” the company said in a press release.

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ISTAT Day 1: Engine updates for CFM, GE, RR and PW

Feb. 29, 2016, (c) Leeham Co.: The LEAP engine, for the Boeing 737 MAX, Airbus ISTAT-logo_no_tag-(2c)A320neo and COMAC C919 is the fastest-selling engine in history, says Jean-Paul Ebanga, the president of CFM International. More than 10,000 have been sold.

  • We’re at the 2016 ISTAT AGM in Phoenix and will be reporting today and tomorrow on presentations and news from the sidelines.

“It’s on-time and on-spec,” Ebanga said. It’s either been on the date set four years ago or ahead of schedule. The engines delivered to Airbus for the A320neo are on spec, he said. It’s been certified for the neo and will be certified soon for the MAX, with 90% of the information submitted.

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Embraer focus: on-time EIS for E2

Feb. 24, 2016, © Leeham Co., Sao Jose dos Compos: The focus over the next two years will be the on-time entry into service of the E2 family, said John Slattery, chief commercial officer of Embraer.

If achieved, this will be in marked contrast to recent new aircraft programs at Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier.

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EJet-E2 ranged upped by 450nm

Feb. 24, 2016, © Leeham Co., Sao Jose dos Campos: The new Embraer EJet E2 will have 450nm more range than the previously advertised 1,920nm, the company announced today.

Luis Carlos Affonso, senior vice president of Embraer Commercial Aircraft, announced the change during media briefings in advance of the E190-E2 rollout tomorrow at the EMB plant here.

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Embraer rolls out first E2 tomorrow

Feb. 24, 2016, © Leeham Co., Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil: Embraer will roll out its new E-Jet E2 tomorrow with the first model, the E190E2.

Paulo Cesar, president of Embraer, outlined a short history of the program in the opening of two days of events.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Exciting 2016

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

29 January 2016, ©. Leeham Co: In the corner of two weeks ago we did a retrospective of 2015. Time for looking ahead. The year of 2016 will be quite interesting. We had entry into service of the first re-engine single aisle aircraft this week, the Airbus A320neo, the same week as we expect first flight from its main competitor, Boeing’s 737 MAX 8. We will also see first flight of the Embraer E190E2 and A350-1000 before the year is over.

The Mitsubishi MRJ shall go test flying in earnest and Bombardier’s CSeries 100 and 300 shall enter service. On top of that, the COMAC 919 will probably start ground roll tests this year and we should see roll out of Irkut’s MC-21. I would say 2016 is a busy year for civil aviation.


In the 2015 corner we talked a lot about engine technology as a key driver to further efficiency of air transportation. Now will dissect the airframe technology that all these new projects will bring us. Read more