As the Farnborough air show rapidly approaches, excitement is building about order prospects for the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan-powered Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) and Bombardier’s proposed CSeries.
Mitsubishi has already secured All Nippon Airways as launch customer, and is reportedly closing in on a second deal. Bombardier is rumoured to launch the CSeries at Farnborough (which runs 14-20 July) with as many as 200 orders, including 50 from
A big draw for both aircraft is the high-bypass GTF, which is attracting increasing interest, including from former sceptics of the project. ”I think what you’re seeing is an industry that is starting to understand the facts and the figures, and maybe being able to separate [these] from myth,” says Benjamin Boehm, director, programme management office and director of marketing, new commercial aircraft programmes at Bombardier Aerospace.
P&W recently held technical symposiums in Asia and the
But if you’re looking for P&W to let the cat out of the bag on orders, think again. Jones sees Farnborough’s July timing as somewhat of “an arbitrary date”, but she has no doubt we’ll see some order action this year.
The first flight of the GTF on a Boeing 747SP test-bed will occur “around the time of Farnborough”, says Jones. “The biggest expectation is to have a flight test programme as successful as our ground test programme.”
Clearly the GTF proposal – which promises to reduce fuel burn by at least 12% compared to current high-bypass ratio turbines – is “going in the right direction”, says consultant Bob Mann, who suggests that if Bombardier and Mitsubishi can deliver on their promises “those look like some of the leading programmes in [improving] economics”.
So what does Bombardier have to say as Farnborough nears? “I think the best thing for me to say of the show is that our calendar of airline face-to-face executive meetings is filling up fast and our calendar for supplier that want to get on the programme is filling up fast,” says Boehm.
“That pretty much says I’m going to very busy during that week.”