Bombardier CSeries customer Ilyushin Finance could likely take their aircraft with the high density 160-seat configuration, as the airframer emphasises that it is satisfied with its current CSeries orderbook.
The manufacturer has customers who have requested for the 160-seat layout, says Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Mike Arcamone. While he points out that the airframer does not disclose the seat configuration of their customers, he says the 160-seat arrangement would allow for a single class configuration with a 28in (711mm) seat pitch.
Only two customers have so far placed firm orders for the CS300: Russian lessor Ilyushin Finance and Air Baltic. Air Baltic, whose order launched the CS300, has disclosed it would take the aircraft with a 148-seat configuration, which indicates that Ilyushin Finance could receive the aircraft in a 160-seat configuration.
Ilyushin Finance firmed up its order of 32 CS300s earlier this month, taking the firm backlog for the CSeries programme to 177 orders. The lessor is likely to lease the aircraft to Russian carriers but it has not ruled out customers outside the Commonwealth of Independent States.
While there has been concern over the CSeries orderbook, Arcamone says he is not disappointed and the airframer is confident in meeting its target of 300 firm orders before entry into service, expected to happen a year after first flight. That maiden flight is scheduled for before end-June.
Bombardier disclosed today during the Paris air show that UK start-up carrier Odyssey Airlines is the previously undisclosed customer behind an order for 10 CS100s first announced in June 2011.
Arcamone says the airframer is working on some "very active campaigns" but adds that Bombardier does not tie airshows to aircraft orders when asked if it intends to unveil more CSeries orders at the Paris air show.
The first production aircraft of the CS100 is "well on its way", says Arcamone. Bahrain-based Gulf Air will be launch operator, Bombardier has confirmed. "The components of the first production aircraft are at various suppliers' locations," says Arcamone.