Congestion at Asia’s metropolitan airports has led to a trend toward opening regional hubs and opportunities for Bombardier’s C Series narrowbodies, the only single-aisle aircraft specifically designed to serve the 100- to 150-seat market, the company claims. On October 5 Bombardier completed a tour of the CS300 that started in Narita, Japan, and proceeded to Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and New Delhi—its major target markets—with a static demonstration to regulators, airlines and prospective suppliers.
India’s regional connectivity scheme and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Open Skies policy have encouraged the opening of routes between smaller cities and secondary hubs with shorter airstrips and smaller volumes of passengers. “This is the perfect aircraft in the cost per seat, range and capability for new regional routes on airstrips as short as 1,400 meters [4,600 feet],” said Bombardier Commercial Aircraft vice president of sales for Asia-Pacific Francois Cognard in an interview with AIN. “Many airlines open routes and close because the planes are too large,” he explained.
Airlines dropped more than 4,000 routes last year worldwide because of the wrong choice of aircraft, said Cognard. Bombardier is now considering taking the C Series to Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Singapore.
Korean Air, Bombardier’s third customer after Swiss and Air Baltic, serves as the Asian launch customer after placing firm orders for 10 CS300s set for delivery this fall. Indian budget carrier SpiceJet became the launch customer of the extra-capacity, 90-Seat Q400 at the end of September, placing a firm order for 25 of the turboprops and bringing its total firm order count to more than 600.
“This plane can do what no others can do since it is the right size,” said Cognard of the C Series. For instance, Cognard said Boeing did not even compete on the 75-aircraft CS100 deal with Delta Air Lines, which now stands subject to a 300-percent tariff in the U.S. following Boeing’s dumping complaint. “We feel this to be a misuse of trade laws,” he noted.
Bombardier in its 2017 to 2036 market forecast projects airlines in South Asia, which includes India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, to take delivery of 500 aircraft in the 60-to 150-seat segment.