Bombardier, the Canadian manufacturer of trains and regional jets, plans to build a new plane with a capacity of 110 to 130 passengers that would enter the competition with Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A319. The new planes of the C Series would be a big step for Bombardier which has focused on small regional jets which can carry between 50 and 86 passengers. Why this shift towards bigger planes?
When Bombardier launched its Canadair regional jet series (CRJ) in the early 1990s, they tapped into a new market category. But now, it seems as if nobady wants those small, uncomfortable and expensive airliners anymore, amongst others because of the high costs for fuel. Competing regional jetliners of Brazilian Embraer’s 145 family seem to offer more comfort for passengers, which is not surprising as the CRJ series is based on a business jet built in the 70s. Besides, Embraer has a virtual monopoly on airliners with a capacity of 90 to 110 seats. It is vital for Bombardier to expand its range to maintain its position as the world’s 3rd largest aircraft company.
With the launch of the C Series, Bombardier would be in the fierce competition with Boeing and Airbus, but the C Series has some promising advantages over the rivaling established competitors. The aircraft of the C Series are planned to be up to 28 % more efficient using a new type of engine from Pratt & Whitney which is designed for this particular kind of aircraft.
Furthermore, if Bombardier manages to launch the C Series in 2013, it will be far ahead of the planes of Boeing and Airbus which are to replace the current models much later, so that Bombardier could enjoy years of first-mover advantage and sell the C Series planes to numerous airlines which are eagerly looking forward to a new generation of fuel-efficient regional airliners. The regional jets from the C Series would operate feeder flights connecting smaller airports to major hubs and link smaller airports directly. Bombardier describes the opearation range as “continental connector”.
The launch of the C Series depends on whether Bombardier can secure between 50 and 100 orders at the airshows in Berlin and Farnborough.