Bombardier yesterday launched its long-awaited CSeries on the back of a $2.8 billion order from Lufthansa.
The announcement got Farnborough off to a flying start and brings to an end the long-running saga of whether Bombardier would finally give the green light to its family of challengers to Embraer, Boeing and Airbus.
CSeries will cost $2.6bn to develop. Costs are likely to be shared three ways, roughly equally, between Bombardier, risk-sharing partner companies and supporting government bodies – including the governments of Canada, and the UK, state authorities in Quebec and the Northern Ireland Executive.
The government share will be on the basis of repayable investments, although Bombardier was yesterday confident that this will not reignite “subsidy” trade rows with either Embraer or Boeing.
The first of the five-model 110-149-seat CSeries is scheduled to enter service in 2013. The engine for the CSeries was named yesterday as the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan. Bombardier is claiming a 20% fuel efficiency improvement over existing aircraft, as well as a raft of environmental gains.
Lufthansa is the launch customer for the CSeries, having signed a Letter of Interest for 30 of the aircraft, plus 30 options, which if all realised will be worth $2.8bn. However, Lufthansa said yesterday it will not be the launch operator of the aircraft.
“This is an historic day for Bombardier,” says Pierre Beaudoin, president and chief executive of Bombardier. “We are effectively changing the game of the commercial aircraft market. This is a great day for Bombardier and for our customers and suppliers.”
He added Bombardier was “building a promising pipeline” of potential customers in a market estimated to be some 6,300 aircraft over 20 years and worth a total of $250bn.
Bombardier has chosen Montreal’s Mirabel airport as the site for the final assembly line. It will use its Belfast facility for the development and manufacture of the wings, while the aft fuselage and cockpit will be assembled at Bombardier’s Saint-Laurent site in Quebec.
Suppliers already on the programme include: Rockwell Collins (avionics); Liebherr-Aerospace (air management system); Parker Hannifin (fuel and hydraulics systems); and SAC (centre fuselage, centre wing box and doors).
Beaudoin dismissed suggestions that the repayable investments will contravene free trade rules. “We are confident that what we have in place is World Trade Organisation compliant and that it will not be opposed by the European Commission,” he said.