The Paris Air Show is one of the premier aviation events in the world, but the CEO of Bombardier said in the Financial Post last week, “It’s just an event.” Alain Bellemare did not intend to diss Paris. What he meant by the comment was that it won’t be the making or breaking of his company’s long-awaited CSeries jets, which have finally made their debut in Paris. Whether the company secures a lot of new orders or doesn’t, having a flight display CS300 and a static display CS100 in Paris will be good for the aircraft’s visibility, and could drive future sales. The Paris presence will help to build “brand momentum” he said.
The CSeries certainly has bragging rights for novelty; it is the first entirely new single-aisle aircraft to be shown at the Paris show in three decades.
Of course, orders would be good. Bombardier’s arch-rivals Boeing and Airbus have already announced large orders for their single-aisle jets, orders worth billions of dollars. A Wall Street Journal video report says that the two big plane makers have been fiercely competitive in “elbowing out” Bombardier wherever they could, trying to make sure it doesn’t gain the traction it seeks with the new CSeries, which competes with their smallest jets. So far, Bombardier has managed to secure 243 firm orders for the as yet unknown CSeries, still short of the 300 orders it hopes to have before the jets enter service.
With its advertised high performance and fuel economy, the company is promising a 20 per cent fuel burn advantage, giving the jets a range of 6,112 kilometres, or 3,300 nautical miles. It can also carry more passengers than originally promised, a fact that the company’s president said would make the jets even more profitable to operate.
The market Bombardier is going after with its 90–150-seat CSeries is the replacement market in Europe and the United States and the growing markets in China and South Asia. The company’s own forecasts show demand for commercial aircraft of this size reaching 12,700 units delivered between this year and 2035.