Bombardier is emphasising the runway performance, range and geared powerplant of its 110-seat CSeries CS100 airliner as it strives to triumph in Gulf Air's three-way regional jet order contest.

The CS100 is competing against the Airbus A318 and Embraer E-Jets for the Bahraini carrier's business.

At October's Arab Air Carriers Organisation event in Cairo, Gulf Air's chief Samer Majali said it was "down to the finishing line" in its evaluation, which is expected by the end of the year.

The proposed order, part of the carrier's strategy to restructure with smaller aircraft types, would be for up to 10 aircraft in the 90- to 110-seat range, says Majali.

Bombardier vice-president of commercial aircraft programmes Ben Boehm says that the airframer "can create an airplane" for Gulf Air, one that deploys "a lightweight business configuration" and could fly "all the way to London City from Bahrain". He adds: "That's a real need that they have."

Bombardier CSeries
  © Bombardier

Today, two British Airways Airbus A318s are flying in a 32-seat all-business configuration on transatlantic routes from London City airport to New York' Kennedy airport, with a westbound customs clearance and fuel stop in Shannon, Ireland.

Additionally, Bombardier is touting the lower pressure ratio on the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engine that powers the CSeries. Boehm says that in comparison with the GE CF34-10E and CFM56-5, the geared-fan engine pulls comparatively less air into the core - and, by extension, fewer fine sand particles.

Boehm suggests that a carrier such as Gulf Air, whose biggest maintenance costs contribution comes from sand ingestion into the engine, could see a 5% improvement in flying time for a powerplant.

The nominal improvement for the CSeries, says Boehm, includes 25-28% lower maintenance costs. That figure could reach 31-33% when "introducing the sand factor" for Middle Eastern carriers, he adds.

Source: Flight International