There is one A319neo in flight test, D-AVWA. Its first flight was March 31, 2017 and the chart lists test flights in terms of flight hours. Only 180 so far.
Is the A319neo slowing down? On October 16, Airbus and Bombardier announced their collaboration. Like the Boeing MAX7, the A319neo has not been a sales success. Airbus and Boeing have to probably go through with these two models because they are entry-level business jets for these two OEMs. The ROI on these two models may not look especially bright, but they have to offer them. For Airbus, the potential for a French presidential jet requires performance.
There is a competition going on that pits the E195-E2, MAX7 and A319neo against the CS300. The outcome is going to be interesting. Especially since it looks like the CS300 is only competing with the A319neo.
No less than Airbus CEO Enders said that Airbus “will definitely push the Canadian model’s largest variant, the CS300, at the expense of the similarly sized A319neo“.
So it may no surprise to see that the A319neo test flights have slowed. Indeed, if Mr. Enders can be taken at his word, might there the possibility that Airbus could be thinking about moving the CS300 into the slot held by the A319ACJ? If that is the case the CS300 could have a broader future as a business jet for the VVIP and head-of-state market. Which would interesting because it pits the CS300 against the MAX7 again. The odds on the CS300 look good.
As of 3Q17, there were 72 A319 and 161 737BBJs in VVIP use. Of the 161 Boeings, 109 were 737-700s. Potentially Bombardier could see all these Airbus models replaced by the CS300 over time. Plus a chunk of the BBJs.
But for the slowing in A319neo flight test hours, which highlights what Airbus may be thinking, who would have thought the C Series might become disruptive in the VVIP market as well? As Embraer starts to develop its E190-E2 line into a Lineage it stands to replace the 38 in current VVIP service. This would leave the VVIP market with a choice of three options in this category. Two of which are lightweight designs optimized for this size.