Many of our keen readers will know that earlier this year, Bombardier, the Canadian-British Aerospace company, and Airbus, joined forces to compete against Boeing in the 100-150 seater market. Airbus acquired a 50.01% majority stake in the C-Series Aircraft Limited Partnership. This brought together, the combination of Airbus’ global reach, with the efficiency and modern design of the C-series to generate significant value to the C Series programme. With huge cost savings leveraging on Airbus’ supply chain, and a potential demand of nearly 6000 aircraft in the next 20years, the time was perfect for Airbus to step in and take a majority stake in the C-Series programme.
This allowed C-Series aircraft to be delivered to the US, to undergo final assembly in Alabama. In essence the company is able to dodge the current import tariffs. Handing over a majority of their flagship aircraft was a huge risk for bombardier, but they felt it was the best way forward, but this was more important for Airbus as they do not have a mainstream competitor in said market, it refrains from compromising their own aircraft sales.
The current C Series Family consists of 2 aircraft, the first being the smaller CS100 (officially BD-500-1A10) which holds 108-133 passengers. This is followed by the larger CS300 (officially BD-500-1A11) which can seat 130-160 passengers. Service entry of the CS300 with Air Baltic saw a 21% lower fuel burn replacing their ageing 737Classics.
This all took place last October, but it seems now Airbus are thinking of renaming the C series. The C-Series may soon be renamed the A200-family, sources told Bloomerang. The CS100 and CS300 would be renamed the A210 and A230, however the source also made note that a final decision on the name change has not yet been made and also other names are still under consideration.
This follows the “A3XX’ model that is currently implemented across Airbus’ entire commercial aircraft fleet from the A300 to the A380. The name change is an easy way of viewing the C series as an extension of Airbus’ current fleet, with Airbus’ much larger global reach this may appease customers and result in those crucial orders. It is clear that the C Series had a rough start to its life, two years behind schedule added an element of uncertainty to the programme which tested the patience of potential customers, but now with the presence of Airbus it may be the right time for the C Series programme, or should I now say the A200 programme to flourish.
It is still uncertain if a name change will ensue, but the deal is said to formally close in July which is when any changed will come to light. Personally I think that this would easily get mistaken for the A310 and A330 and that this would actually hinder sales of the C-Series, the A210 and A230 seem out of character, considering the entire airbus fleet currently starts with “A3”.
I have personally flown the Swiss Global Airlines CS100 and from a passenger point of view it is a joy to fly on with Delta’s CEO Ed Bastain even going as far to say “It is an absolute wide-body feel on a narrow-body,”.
Swiss Global Airlines is currently the largest C-Series operator with 17 in their fleet and Bombardier and Airbus still have a backlog of 343 aircraft to be delivered to their respective customers. For now, only time will tell if the C Series programme will turn out a success.