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OPINION: CSeries rescue on track, but hurdles remain

On 1 July, Airbus will add two new models to its range when it takes a majority stake in the ­Bombardier CSeries programme.

After years of uncertainty amid Bombardier’s cash constraints, the move will shore up the twinjet family’s finances, as well as adding significant firepower to the sales effort and potentially cutting unit costs.

However, these changes can only do so much to stimulate demand.

Back in 2008 when it launched the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G-powered CS100 and CS300, Bombardier forecast 20-year sales of 6,300 units in the 100-150-seat space. But over the following decade, just 805 deliveries were made into the segment by four airframers.

Nonetheless, Bombardier’s latest 20-year forecast puts demand at an increased 6,800 units.

Nobody disputes that the CSeries pair are excellent aircraft, featuring a host of technological innovations.

However, the type has only sold in limited numbers: Bombardier had accumulated 402 firm orders at the last count, with the majority being for the larger CS300. For that matter, Airbus has sold just 54 units of the competing A319neo.

Together, the partners should be able to take the order total significantly higher than it is at present. But to meet their lofty sales goals, they must breathe life into a space that has so far shown only modest growth.

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