While the CSeries has compelling economics, Air Astana president Peter Foster believes that Bombardier will have to offer trade-ins on Embraer E-Jets for the new type to gain sales traction.
Foster says that the Kazakh carrier has received briefings from Bombardier on the suitability of the CSeries and concedes that on paper, the aircraft could be well suited to its operations.
“If what they say is correct then the aircraft is hugely compelling,” he says, noting that compared with the airline’s Embraer 190s, the CSeries offers additional range with a much lower per-seat cost.
The airline is unlikely to order the CSeries any time soon, however, as it is still taking delivery of new aircraft and is well invested in its current fleet.
“The sheer complexity of having to suddenly set up a new training and logistics system for a new aircraft that may have some economic benefit [is difficult],” he says.
"They’ll have to tell us that they’ll buy out our Embraers."
Adding to the challenge for Bombardier is the launch earlier this year of the upgraded E2 series from Embraer, which will become available in 2018. Foster says that the E2 would be more likely to appeal to existing E-Jet operators because of the commonality in systems, cockpits and support.
Foster says that in light of that, the E2 could be more compelling for Air Astana and other Embraer operators.
"The E2 might also be a very good aircraft and that’s just a derivative," he says.