Bombardier plans to develop a short-range, high-thrust variant of the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF)-powered CSeries 130, should it opt this year to launch the proposed 110/130-seat aircraft programme.

The new variant, called the CSeries 130XT, was revealed as part of Bombardier’s release of new performance specifications and dimensions – including a longer wingspan and shorter external lengths - for the family of aircraft, which also comprises the CSeries 110, 110ER, 130 and 130ER.

The 130XT "allows customers who do not have the need for the long-range capability of the CSeries 130ER to take advantage of shorter runways or improved hot and high airfield performance associated with the full 23,300lb of thrust [GTF] engine", says a Bombardier spokesman.

It will offer the same maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 131,300lb (59,557kg) and range of 2,200nm (4,074km) as that which is now being estimated for Bombardier’s standard CSeries 130 in the airframer’s new CSeries brochure. MTOW and range for the 130 was previously listed as 129,300lb and 1,800nm.

By comparison, the CSeries 130ER, while maintaining the previously-estimated MTOW of 139,100lb, will offer a range of 2,950nm – a full 250nm more range than Bombardier’s previous expectation for the type.

Significantly, the 130XT’s takeoff field length will be 5,450ft (1,661m). This compares to the takeoff field length of the standard 130 and the 130ER of 6,240ft and 6,200ft, respectively.

Changes have also been made to the CSeries 110 and 110ER variants. Bombardier has boosted MTOW on the standard 110 by 1,900lb to 120,700lb, and increased the range of both the 110 and 110ER to 2,200nm and 2,950nm, respectively, versus the 1,800nm and 2,700nm range previously predicted by the manufacturer.

The dimensions of the CSeries 110 and 130 have also been altered. Bombardier now estimates external length on the 110 at 114ft 4in (34.8m) versus a previous estimate of 115ft 3in. External length for the 130 is now 124ft 10in compared to 125ft 8 in.

The wing span for both the CSeries 110 and 130 has been lengthened by 3ft to 115ft 1in. The height from ground for both aircraft remains 37ft.

Explaining the changes, Bombardier says: "As the CSeries design continues to evolve, we are able to refine our performance and configuration specifications. We’re doing this in parallel with consultations with our customers, who themselves are providing inputs to the aircraft specification in order to have the CSeries better fit their operations. The changes are a result of these two activities. In all cases, the performance of the CSeries continues to improve."

A disclaimer listed on the Canadian airframer’s new CSeries brochure notes that the CSeries programme is currently in the conceptual design phase and is subject to changes in family strategy, branding, capacity, performance, design and/or systems. "This document does not constitute an offer, commitment, representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind and the configuration and performance of the aircraft shall be determined in a final purchase agreement," says the manufacturer.

Analysts have started responding to news of the CSeries changes. While the new specifications "look reasonable" and could catapult Bombardier over Embraer’s current E-Jets offering, Bombardier needs to set the figures in stone and start providing performance guarantees, warns Michael Ciasullo, the new managing partner of IAG aviation consulting services. A former staffer for Delta Air Lines’ fleet planning organization, Ciasullo says: "Until I get some set figures here, there is no way I’d order this aircraft without a financial guarantee from Bombardier."

In recent months, interest in the CSeries appears to have picked up steam as the P&W GTF continues to meet and exceed all performance characteristics, and airlines seek more fuel-efficient options. Bombardier predicts that, for a CSeries 110 operating a 500nm mission, fuel burn will be 2.89 litres per passenger per 54nm, while a CSeries 130 in a 145-seat low-fare carrier (high-density) configuration flying 2,000nm will be 2.03 litres per 54nm.

The company’s new CSeries documentation has been released as speculation reaches fever pitch over whether the aircraft will be formally launched at the upcoming Farnborough air show. Analyst Jacques Kavafian of Research Capital recently predicted that China Southern Airlines will order 50 of the type, and that the deal will be a portion of the over 200 orders expected to be won by Bombardier at Farnborough.

Bombardier continues to say it will make a launch decision this year for entry-into-service in 2013.