Airbus and Boeing remain relaxed about any threat that the Bombardier CSeries might offer to their incumbent single-aisle families. This is despite the fact that Bombardier has begun securing contracts for the 110/130-seat, Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan-powered twinjet, including a launch deal from Lufthansa for up to 60 aircraft.

Bombardier is offering the CSeries for delivery from late 2013 and is aiming at the lower end of the mainline airliner market occupied now by the smaller members of the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families. It claims that the new twinjet will offer a 15% cash operating cost advantage over today's aircraft.

"I'm not losing any sleep over it," says Stuart Mann, who is director of A320 family product marketing. "The CSeries is a niche aircraft that competes at the bottom end of our market, and we can react commercially to it."

Boeing's managing director of capital markets, Kostya Zolotusky, says that Bombardier has "some really fantastic challenges to address with the CSeries to be successful". He adds that while the GTF "will do some things very well", he points out that the engine's configuration means that it has a bigger fan, which creates more drag and that the gear-drive system has a weight penalty.

Mann plays down talk that Airbus is seriously considering developing a PW1000G GTF-powered A320 update, in the wake of the flight-test evaluation of the engine undertaken last year with P&W.

"We flight-tested the GTF on an A340, and now everybody thinks we've got a programme to install it on the A320. We're still working with P&W to understand the results, but we do not have a programme to install the engine on the A320."

Mann adds that the GTF test was part of Airbus's research into potential engine technology for the next single-aisle family. "We hope we can do some flight-testing of other people's engines to broaden our research about powerplants for the next-generation aircraft."

Source: Flight International