Boeing will defend its market share if Bombardier’s proposed CSeries starts adding pressure to its narrowbody offering, but the US airframer does not believe launch of the proposed 110/130-seat airliner is warranted.
“We don’t see [the] economics to justify potential launch of that aircraft,” said Boeing VP marketing Randy Tinseth today at the JPMorgan Aviation and Transportation Conference in New York.
“The CSeries has now been around in paper form since 2004,” he says, adding that clearly the aircraft now on sale by Bombardier to customers “is better than it was a few years go”.
At the same time, however, says Tinseth, when launching a new aircraft “significant” improvements in efficiency and maintenance costs are essential. “By our analysis, it [the CSeries] doesn’t get there.”
Responding to the Boeing executive’s comments today, a Bombardier executive says: “The CSeries aircraft will benefit from the latest technological advancements, including: increased use of composites and aluminum lithium in structures; the game-changing performance of the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engine; the very latest in system technologies – such as fly-by-wire; and fourth-generation aerodynamics.
“Together, these advancements will produce up to 20% better fuel burn and up to 15% improved cash operating costs, versus current in-production aircraft of similar size.”
The CSeries aircraft family is specifically designed for the lower end of the 100- to 149-seat market segment, estimated at 5,900 aircraft, or $250 billion, over the next 20 years. Bombardier’s target is to capture half of this market.
Long considered the ideal candidate to launch the CSeries, Northwest Airlines today said the aircraft remains among the options still being studied; the US major is looking at a replacement for its McDonnell Douglas DC-9s.
Boeing, meanwhile, continues to study a successor to its 737. New engine technology is just one of several issues that need to be resolved before a decision is made, says Tinseth, who points out that the structure technology “isn’t there yet” and the aerodynamic and systems technology “are still far behind”.
Boeing doesn’t see those technologies converging until “probably 2015”. Therefore, the manufacturer will likely need to decide in the “2012 timeframe” on whether to go forward with a replacement.
Source: flightglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news