Korean Air has signed a letter of intent for 30 Bombardier CS300s, becoming the Asian launch customer for the CSeries and helping to dispel nervousness that runaway Airbus A320neo sales could consign the new 130-seat airliner to the history books.
Announcing the deal at Bombardier’s impressive CSeries pavilion/auditorium at the show yesterday, Gary Scott, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president, also revealed that on Monday Pratt & Whitney carried out the first test flight of the PW1500G geared-turbofan engine for the aircraft.
Bombardier also projected an animated film onto the side of the cabin mockup, which proclaimed a 12-percent cost advantage for the CSeries over “re-engined aircraft,” a clear swipe at the A320neo.
The Korean flagcarrier intends to place a firm order for 10 aircraft and secure options for a further 10 (sealing delivery positions), plus purchase rights for another 10. Walter Cho, Korean Air senior v-p, was bullish about the prospects of firming up the order, while Scott added, “We’ve essentially agreed to everything. It’s just subject to some approvals.”
The first aircraft will be due for delivery in the second quarter of 2015, and Cho said that the airline would also firm up the options and purchase rights “very soon” after the order was finalized. He said that the aircraft will have eight business-class seats, the rest being economy seating.
“The CSeries is expected to complement our widebody fleet and we will be embarking on a route expansion program,” Cho explained. The carrier has evidently already identified 40 potential destinations for the aircraft, which has a 2,950-nm range with 130 passengers.