Lufthansa, which already operates a large fleet of Bombardier CRJs and Q400s, will not be the launch operator for the CSeries, but "will be among the first operators", says Nico Buchholz, Lufthansa senior vice-president corporate fleet.

It will probably use the five-abreast-cabin CSeries, which carries a sticker price of $46.7 million, to replace 60 BAe146/BAE Systems Avro RJ85/100 regional jets in service with the Lufthansa group, as well as providing for growth. Buchholz says it is too early to say where the CSeries will deployed, although the type could debut in the colours of its Swiss subsidiary.

"We will use it the market segment which has demand for that size category," says Buchholz. Talking about 2013 onwards, it's very difficult to be more specific than that."

A decision on the split between the CSeries 110 and 130 models will be taken "a little bit closer to the delivery dates", he adds.

Asked whether the German airline had concerns about the reliability and support costs of the CSeries' Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan, Buchholz says Lufthansa has "looked into the geared turbofan in detail, and we feel quite comfortable with the concept. We have a good understanding of the engine, which leads us to believe that we will meet our maintenance cost targets."

Lufthansa last year ordered 30 Embraer 190s for delivery from 2009, and Buchholz says he expects more to be purchased despite the CSeries commitment. "They complement each other - it's not really either/or," he says.

Source: Flight International