If you ask me, something seems to be missing from Bombardier Aerospace's showcase at the AIREX 2008 exhibition being held in Istanbul, Turkey. The Canadian airframer has five aircraft on static display - its Learjet 60 XR, Challenger 300 jet, Challenger 605 jet, Global Express XRS aircraft and a CRJ900 NextGen aircraft. But there is nary a CSeries cabin mockup in sight. Why? I should think that AIREX would make a good platform to flog the CSeries to Middle Eastern operators, a region being targeted by Bombardier for the proposed 110/130-seat aircraft.
During a recent interview, Bombardier Aerospace's director, programme managment office and director of marketing, Benjamin Boehm said the CSeries is being evaluated by Middle Eastern airlines for a possible role in providing feeder services. "We're finding that areas such as the Middle East - they are starting the whole hub-and-spoke phenomenon there," he said.
And in a statement today, Bombardier touts its growing presence in the region "as major airlines adapt their operations with more cost-efficient regional aircraft to feed their larger mainline aircraft networks".
Qatar Airways is rumoured to be one of several carriers that will launch the CSeries at the Farnborough air show.
Okay, so where is the much-travelled mock-up? A Bombardier spokesman tells me it was "too heavy and expensive" to lug to AIREX. "Next step: Farnborough, and no this does not confirm anything," he says. Well thank you kindly.