Bombardier received a significant LOI for the CSeries today from Russia, home of the competing Sukhoi Superjet. This order, from Ilyushin Finance, is for 3 CS100 and 7 CS300 models plus ten options, and purchase rights for ten additional aircraft, or 30 in total if all options and future rights are taken up. This win indicates that Russian airlines are continuing to update their fleets with western aircraft. Alexander Rubitsov, General Director of Ilyushin Finance, indicated that the aircraft would likely replace Tupolev 154 aircraft in service with several airlines.
With Bombardier projecting 20% lower fuel costs and 28% lower maintenance costs than today’s aircraft, it is the efficiency leader for narrow-body aircraft, including the A320neo family and Boeing re-engined 737. “If the aircraft is as Bombardier says, it will be great and have a great future.” said Rubitsov.
The CSeries and Irkut MS-21 both utilize the PW1000G geared turbofan engine, the most efficient and environmentally friendly engine for narrow-body aircraft. With engine commonality, orders for the larger MS-21 will also be forthcoming from Ilyushin Finance as that aircraft moves closer to production. Ilyushin finance views the CSeries as well positioned between the Antonov An-148 and An-158 regionals and the larger Irkyt MS-21, and believes it has a strong future in the Russian market. With Tu-154s in service in other countries as well, could Ilyushin Finance lease CSeries aircraft to other countries, perhaps even to Cubana in the future?
With another 10+10+10 order, the CSeries program is now beginning to build momentum prior to its scheduled 2013 entry into service, with orders from Brathens, Gulf Air, Korean and an additional unannounced middle eastern customer earlier this year. If Delta chooses the CSeries, and their decision is due shortly, early delivery positions for the CSeries could be quickly filled.