Farnborough Air Show

At long last, Bombardier makes C-Series official

 - July 13, 2008, 10:14 AM

Bombardier announced here yesterday the long-anticipated launch of its C-Series family of single-aisle airliners. The company also revealed that final assembly will occur in Mirabel, Quebec, laying to rest any speculation that production would move south of the U.S.-Canada border, specifically to Kansas City. Bombardier president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin called it “an historic day for Bombardier.”

Presumptive launch customer Lufthansa has signed a letter of interest for up to 60 aircraft, including 30 options. At an approximate list price of $46.7 million per aircraft, the German airline’s order could reach $2.8 billion in value if it exercises all its options.

“We are effectively changing the game in the commercial aircraft market by creating a family of aircraft with the economic performance, environmental and passenger-oriented improvements that are being demanded by our customers–the world’s major airlines–for the next quarter century,” said Beaudoin.

Although Lufthansa stands as the only announced customer, Beaudoin said the manufacturer has engaged in “very promising discussions with a number of airlines worldwide.” Among those expressing interest include the Middle East’s Qatar Airways and international aircraft leasing giant ILFC. Bombardier Aerospace president and COO Guy Hachey acknowledged that “ILFC and Qatar have been public about [their interest] in the past.”

While the company has selected Mirabel to assemble the finished product, Bombardier’s Belfast, Northern Ireland facility will develop and manufacture the wings, while manufacture of the aft fuselage and cockpit will fall to Bombardier’s Saint-Laurent site. Bombardier chose Mirabel over Kansas City, Missouri, the only other city that remained in final contention. Beaudoin said the governments of Canada and Quebec, as well as Northern Ireland and British government departments, will contribute “repayable investments.”

The total repayable investments will cover approximately one third of the expected $42.6 billion in research-and-development costs. Bombardier will also contribute about one third, as will key suppliers. Beaudoin said the C-Series presents “a compelling business case” for all of the governments involved.

Boon for Canada
Hachey said the C-Series will involve development of new technology, creation of employment and further consolidation of Canada’s leadership in the aerospace industry. “Our partners, including governments and suppliers, will benefit from the program’s success,” he explained.

Bombardier said all major suppliers will work with the C-Series team at its Aerospace Product Development Centre in Saint-Laurent starting this fall as part of the Joint Conceptual Definition Phase.
The major suppliers include C&D Zodiac for the design and production of the aircraft’s interior package, including the seats, interiors, oxygen system, light system, insulation system, waste system and water system; Rockwell Collins for a Pro Line Fusion avionics system tailored specifically for the aircraft; Parker Hannifin for the design and production of the fully integrated fuel and hydraulics system; and Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS for the design and production of the air management system, which includes the environmental control and cabin pressure control system.

The C-Series family of aircraft–which will include the C-Series 110, 110ER, 130, 130XT (for hot-and-high or short-field-length applications) and 130ER–will be powered by Pratt & Whitney’s revolutionary geared turbofan, which promises greatly improved fuel consumption plus much lower emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.

“The C-Series family offers the greenest single-aisle aircraft in its class,” said Gary Scott, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “These game-changing aircraft emit up to 20 percent less CO2 and up to 50 percent less NOx, fly four times quieter, and deliver dramatic energy savings–up to 20 percent fuel burn advantage as well as up to 15 percent improved cash operating costs versus current in-production aircraft of similar size.”

He added that the C-Series will “set a new benchmark” in the industry, consuming as little as two liters of fuel per passenger per 100 km (62.14 miles) in its more dense seating layouts.

With 32-inch-pitch seating, the C-Series 110 and 110ER will accommodate 110 passengers, while the 130, 130XT and 130ER will hold 130 passengers.

Bombardier estimates the value of the world market for those sizes of aircraft at $2.8 trillion over the next 20 years. The company endeavors to capture half of it.