Martin Gauss, CEO of Air Baltic, launch customer for Bombardier’s C Series 300 narrowbody twinjet, said at the 2017 Dubai Airshow the airline has “taken the decision to negotiate for at least another 14 aircraft” on top of its firm order for 20 CS300s. "But that is only to fulfill the current business plan,” he added, hinting additional orders are possible.
Designed for the 100- to 150-passenger market, the C Series entered service with the CS100 and launch customer Swiss in 2016, three years behind schedule. Air Baltic took delivery of its first CS300 in December and now has seven CS300s in service, including the one on static display this week at Al Maktoum International Airport during the Dubai show.
Gauss also said Latvia-based Air Baltic has decided it will gradually replace its Boeing 737s and Bombardier Q400 turboprops with CS300s, due to several factors: “The overwhelming experience of the performance of this aircraft—a combination of the fuel savings and the economics of the longer range of this aircraft—but also the feedback of the passengers in the first year is so good that they want to be on that aircraft. So for us it was an obvious choice.”
The range of the CS300 will help Air Baltic expand its routes, Gauss said, pointing to service between Riga and Abu Dhabi, inaugurated last week. “This route shows the capability of the aircraft,” he said of the six-hour flight. “From that we can expand our existing network through Abu Dhabi [for passengers going] to Southeast Asia,” he added. “There are many more destinations in the future we can reach that we couldn’t before."
Last month Bombardier and Airbus announced a partnership, with the latter acquiring a 50.1 percent majority stake in the C Series without making any payment.