From the end of this week, passengers will be able to fly Bombardier‘s brand new C Series aircraft, a single-aisle jet. The first airline to deploy the aircraft is SWISS International Airlines, based in Zurich, Switzerland. SWISS took delivery of its first C Series jet on June 29 in Mirabel, Quebec in Canada and will enter it in commercial service July 15.
Airlineratings.com visited the aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow near London.
The SWISS C Series aircraft that was on display is the smaller model of the C Series family, the CS100. The larger sister, the CS300, will enter commercial service in the fourth quarter of this year, with the Latvian national carrier airBaltic. The SC100 has typically between 100 and 135 seats depending on the airline’s choice of seat pitch and configuration; and the CS300 can seat up to 160 passengers.
SWISS has opted to configure its CS100s with 125 seats at 30″ pitch. The aircraft has a 2-3 seat abreast layout. The middle seat of the rows with 3 seats is slightly wider, half an inch, to increase passenger comfort. The 30” pitch is very comfortable and even taller passengers have plenty of legroom, thanks to the design of the new seats. SWISS worked together with German aircraft seat manufacturer ZIM Flugsitz. The seat was specially developed for the C Series and SWISS is the first customer.
The cabin has a roomy, spacious feel because of its wide aisle, larger windows and overhead bins.
SWISS has ordered 30 C Series aircraft and also purchased options on a further 30. It will take its second CS100 in 10 days’ time, and nine all together this year. The C Series will gradually replace the operator’s aging fleet of Avro RJ100s and some of its other existing aircraft. SWISS will use the new Bombardier narrowbody on regional routes across Europe, including to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (which will be its first destination), Budapest, Manchester, and Prague.
The C Series program has been mired with several delays and cost overruns of abut U.S.$2 billion, but Bombardier executives on Monday here insisted the program is now on track and all problems have been solved.
In total, the manufacturer has booked firm orders for 370 C Series aircraft plus almost as many commitments. Recent sales include a firm order from large airlines such as Delta Air Lines and Air Canada.
Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, described the C Series as a “versatile” family of single-aisle aircraft jet in the 100 to 150 seat market segment (its CS300 can seat up to 160), with orders from operators across different regions, different business models – low cost carriers and full service airlines – and different alliances.
The first CS300 aircraft is currently in production at the C Series production facility in Mirabel. The Canadian aviation authorities, Transport Canada (TC), have just awarded the CS300 its Type Certification and Bombardier is confident EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, will certify the aircraft in 40 to 50 days. The CS100 is certified by TC, EASA and the U.S.’s FAA.