Bombardier is dismissing comments by Airbus chief salesman John Leahy that the launch of the A320neo means there is "virtually no business case left" for the CSeries, describing the move as "no surprise".
"From the beginning of the CSeries we had factored in a competitive response such as this," says Bombardier. "There is a considerable first-mover advantage for the CSeries with the entry-into-service date considerably sooner than any competing re-engined product," the Canadian manufacturer adds. The EIS for the CSeries is 2013, while the A320neo is scheduled to enter service in spring 2016.
The A320neo "changes nothing", adds Bombardier, which has secured 90 firm orders, 90 options and three customers for the CSeries. "There is a compelling case for the CSeries, which remains the only optimised aircraft in the 100-plus seat range. We will take that message to airlines and operators around the world. We are in discussions, we will continue with those discussions and some will result in further orders."
Airbus has yet to secure a customer for the A320neo but Leahy lists CSeries launch customer Lufthansa among several airlines and lessors which he says are "very interested" in the aircraft. In addition to Lufthansa, Airbus is in discussions with AirAsia, Qatar Airways, International Lease Finance, GECAS and Indigo.