Bombardier Scores a CSeries Order

The Bombardier CS300 in Air Canada Colours

The CSeries has a new customer! Air Canada has signed a letter of intent with Bombardier for 75 of the CS300 type with deliveries starting in 2019. The agreement calls for 45 firm orders and 30 options on the aircraft; the options may be converted to the smaller CS100 per reports. This is the first order for the CSeries since roughly forever – definitely since the CS300 first flight a year ago – and is a massive boost for the ailing project. Then again, it is just a Letter of Intent, not a signed order. That shouldn’t really be an issue but it is worth pointing out.

The Bombardier CS300 in Air Canada Colours
The Bombardier CS300 in Air Canada Colours

The Air Canada CSeries order is part of that carrier’s narrowbody replacement program, an effort which sees, among other things, the retirement of 45 Embraer E190s from the fleet. The CSeries is a larger aircraft than the E90s being replaced, allowing Air Canada to increase capacity and reduce operating costs per seat mile at the same time. Deliveries are slated to begin in 2019 and stretch into 2022, giving the carrier time to integrate the new aircraft into its fleet plan.

The CSeries project has been a challenging one, particularly of late, for Bombardier. Even with the new order the profitability of the project is not guaranteed. On the plus side, it does help secure the recent investment mad by the government of Quebec in the program and continues what Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu describes as his carrier’s “continued support for Canada’s aerospace industry and for the new technologies the industry may develop.”The CS100 received type certification late in 2015 and is expected to enter service with Swiss in Q2 ’16.

Bombardier also announced cuts of 7,000 jobs across its operations as it moves to reduce costs and optimize the workforce. Interestingly, none of these cuts come in the Commercial Aerospace group; employment there will remain steady or increase in the coming years, allowing for production of the CSeries to ramp up and satisfy the order book.

Separately, Bombardier announced a 90-seat version of its Q400 Turboprop aircraft, an increase of 12-14 seats over the traditional layout. This makes it the largest prop in the market and, according to the company, “puts the aircraft’s flight time within minutes of jet schedules, at the same seat cost as larger single-aisle jets.” It is unclear if this change was driven specifically by Porter Air which was hoping to bring the CSeries to Toronto’s Billy Bishop Downtown Airport but found those plans scuttled by local NIMBYism and lobbying efforts at higher levels of government. The larger prop would allow some growth for the company without introducing jets to its fleet.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Two totally—totally—unrelated items that came out today:

    1) Air Canada C Series Airframe Heavy Maintenance to be Performed in Quebec—this agreement has the Government of Quebec dropping a lawsuit against Air Canada pulling out MRO business from Quebec which was mandated in the legislation that privatized the airline.

    2) The Government of Canada is committed to ease competition rules that Air Canada uniquely had to comply with after privatization.

    The 90 passenger Q400 can’t be for Porter—they (and Air Canada) operate the aircraft with fewer seats than normal already so they can operate out of YTZ.

    1. Is the fewer seats thing a weight restriction with the runway? I know that extending it was going back and forth in discussions.

      1. Yes, it is an issue due to runway length. Originally Porter’s aircraft had 70 seats, now up to 74.

        Jets needed a runway extension into the harbour of about 440m. The Environmental Assessment for runway expansion was stopped when the Federal Government announced no expansion.

    2. “Garneau said the federal government didn’t pressure Air Canada to purchase the jets.”

      Of course not. And AC didn’t pressure the federal government to ‘review’ the New Leaf license.

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