The first test flight of Bombardier’s new CSeries jet, the CS100, was successfully completed today in Montreal. The aircraft took off at 9:55 a.m. from Mirabel Airport in Montreal and reached an altitude of 3,810 metres (12,500 feet). The commercial jet, said by Bombardier to be the only 100 per cent newly designed commercial aircraft in the world, took off and flew flawlessly on its maiden flight, an event that has been ten years in the making. It places Bombardier in direct competition with giants Boeing and Airbus in the single-aisle commercial jet segment.
“The performance of the CSeries aircraft was very impressive! We couldn’t have wished for a better maiden flight,” said Captain Charles Ellis. who was in command. “FTV1’s (flight test vehicle 1) state-of-the-art flight deck was responsive and comfortable, and the aircraft handled exactly as expected. Overall, we had a very productive first flight and an excellent start to the flight test program.”
The CSeries jet, which Bombardier describes as a game changer, is “optimized” for the longer-range, single-aisle market, carrying from 110 to 160 passengers. It claims to offer a significant operational advantage, burning 20 per cent less fuel and costing 15 per cent less to operate than competing aircraft. It also promises to be quieter than competing aircraft of similar size, making it the “ideal aircraft for urban operations.” The CSeries’ greater range, up to 5,643 kilometres for the C300, could give it an additional competitive edge against one of its newest challengers in this market, Embraer of Brazil, which recently introduced a 132-seat aircraft, the E195-E2. That plane will not be in service until 2019, but there have already been orders for it.
Bombardier has projected that the market for aircraft of this size will be approximately 7,000 planes in the next twenty years. The company said at the Paris Air Show in June that it wants to take half of that market.
The test flight comes just days before two big industry events which Bombardier will attend, Jet Expo Moscow beginning September 19, and Aviation Expo China, on September 25. A Chinese airline is reported to be a top potential candidate for buying the CSeries. Air Canada is said to be another potential customer. Porter Airlines of Toronto has already made it clear that it wants to fly the CSeries jets from the Toronto Island airport. The Toronto-based airline agrees that the CSeries would be a game changer, allowing them to fly to markets currently out of reach, including Los Angeles and Vancouver.
Québec’s aerospace cluster, Aéro Montréal, issued a congratulatory statement praising Bombardier Aerospace for “innovating and pushing the boundaries of today’s technologies” and thanking the company “for its visionary leadership that is mobilizing the industry, lifting employee creativity and opening the door to a bright and exciting future.”