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May 20, 2024
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Bombardier today announced an order for 10 aircraft from an unidentifed European customer for the CSeries.  This order is for 10 CS100 models, the smaller of the two variants that will enter service in 2013.  This is the eighth customer for the CSeries, three of whom remain unannounced.  As Bombardier identified this customer as being from Europe, can we infer that the other two unidentified customers may be from another region?

This brings the firm order book to 123, almost evenly split between the models, with 61 orders for the 110 seat CS100 and 62 orders for the 130 seat CS300.  In an interview earlier this week, Guy Hachey, Chief Operating Officer of Bombardier Aerospace, indicated that the company is in advanced discussions with 5-7 additional customers, and that announcements could be soon forthcoming.

Bombardier, with several small orders, has not yet secured a “blockbuster” order such as the large orders for Airbus neo aircraft from IndiGo and AirAsia for 150 and 200 aircraft, respectively.  Their strategy has been to secure a broader customer base, with smaller orders, to build the market and ensure residual values for the aircraft through mobility among several operators.  While Bombardier hasn’t landed that large order yet, it appears that momentum for CSeries is beginning to build.

The potential to steal business from Boeing at Southwest Airlines was mentioned as “feasible” by Hachey, who indicated that Bombardier has been speaking with Southwest.  Southwest may be looking to replace the 717 fleet it will inherit from AirTran, and the CS300 is an ideal sized aircraft for such a replacement.  A win at Southwest would certainly put Bombardier on the map.  Stay tuned, the aircraft and engine wars are just beginning to heat up in the narrow-body arena.  Airbus is a clear winner, Bombardier is gaining ground, Boeing is in a holding pattern, and Embraer is waiting on Boeing.  With an announcement from Boeing not expected until year-end or 1Q12, the next six months could generate some interesting orders while Boeing remains silent about the future.

3 thoughts on “Another “Unannounced” Customer for CSeries

  1. You said, “Airbus is a clear winner, Bombardier is gaining ground, Boeing is in a holding pattern, and Embraer is waiting on Boeing.”

    Not sure Airbus is a winner. For some obscure reasons they needed to announce an important number of orders, the delivery of which could go beyond 2019. Such a huge backlog does not make much sense in the very dynamic world of narrowbody, especially with so many new entrants during this decade.

    Boeing is NOT in a holding pattern. It has a plan although it does not explain their intention to the world. The valid reason is probably because they do not want to put the 737 backlog at risk. It has more than 2,000 777NG in the backlog.

    There is a question I can’t answer, “Why didn’t Airbus increase the size of the A320neo?”
    The narrowbody aircraft trend is to grow bigger a little bit, say by 5 to 10 seats. If ever Boeing announces its next narrowbody by 2014 and if the new narrowbody is slightly bigger than the current 737-800 and the 737-900ER, then you know that Airbus will have to revise their A320neo concept. It would delay A320neo’s entry into service by at least two years.

    Do you still think Airbus is the winner?
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  2. I meant, “… if Boeing announces in 2014 their next narrowbody …” The entry into service of such aircraft can only be at the end of this decade or in the beginning of the next one.

  3. When analysing the NB-replacement, both airliners and OEM have to cope with2 basic issues:
    – the huge installed based (MRO infrastructure)
    – the high output production rate required (> 40 frames per month)
    So nobody wants to gamble on that, unless you will really get something much better which mean more revenue for the airframer or reduced costs for the OEM.

    So that explains the current popularity for the NEO. For both parties involved it is an immediate win, without any risks (no huge investments required, no delays expected aka A380, B787, B748, A350 and easy to ramup to current production levels), no need to invest in MRO infrastructure.

    Obviously a complete new airframe is inevitable at some point, but the associated risks are high. Obviously Airbus (and part of the market) are not interested in new adventures right now. Why take a lot of risks if you can have much more ROI with a less risky approach? As an engineer you would go for the challenge but as a businessmen you would go for the money.

    I would not be surprised if Boeing will also go for the re-engine.

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