Delta Air Lines is taking a “serious look” at the Bombardier CSeries, says chief executive Richard Anderson.
“We actually think at the right price it’s quite a competitive airplane given the engine technology,” he says during an earnings call today.
The comments follow a tour of the CS100 and meeting with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Fred Cromer in December 2015 when the aircraft visited Delta’s headquarters at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International airport.
“It’s a pretty impressive airplane,” says Anderson today. “The geared turbofan engine is the biggest innovation since the [Boeing] 787,” he adds, referring to the new composite technology that debuted in the Dreamliner.
Whether or not Delta orders the CSeries is another question. Previous comments by Anderson in favour of one new aircraft type have sparked intense competition among airframers to win the airline’s business.
For example, in 2014 Anderson repeatedly spoke highly of the Boeing 787-9 during its campaign to find a replacement for its ageing Boeing 767-300ER and Boeing 747-400 fleet. However, it ultimately ordered Airbus A350-900s due to what many analysts think were more attractive delivery positions and better pricing.
Delta has previously bought used aircraft to fill its 100-seat aircraft needs. It subleased 88 used Boeing 717-200s from Southwest Airlines in 2012 and bought 20 used Embraer 190s from Boeing Capital in December as part of its strategy to shrink its 50-seat regional jet fleet.
Anderson’s comments represent an about face for him on the CSeries. He told Flightglobal in 2013 that the carrier had no interest in the aircraft, despite being impressed by the geared turbofan engine technology.