Monday, July 21, 2008

Canadian Firm Bombardier Launches Green Planes Program

Canadian aircraft and rail manufacturer Bombardier is launching a new family of fuel-efficient, single-aisle commercial airliners.

Bombardier, based in Montreal, unveiled its program for the new CSeries family of aircraft on July 13 in England, on the eve of the industry's prestigious Farnborough International Airshow.

In announcing the launch of the 110- to 130-seat airliners that will seat five abreast, the firm signaled that it is positioning its new jets as challengers to the smallest aircraft in the 737 and A320 lines built by Boeing and Airbus.

"The CSeries 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. The CSeries aircraft will set a new benchmark in the industry, consuming as little as two liters of fuel per passenger per 100 kilometers in its more dense seating layouts."

Bombardier also said its CSeries family will feature increased use of composites and aluminum lithium, a next-generation engine — the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan — and other new systems technology, including fly-by-wire and fourth-generation aerodynamics.

The new jets, funded partly by the Canadian and British governments, have a list price of about $46.7 million U.S. and are scheduled to go into service in 2013.

Lufthansa has signed a letter of interest for as many as 60 jets, including 30 options, with Bombardier. Executives from the leading German airline said they were pleased to be launch customers and attended the Bombardier news conference, which was staged at the Canadian firm’s CSeries pavilion at the airshow.

"At Lufthansa, we are committed to a balance between commercial success, environment and business policies oriented toward sustainability," said Nico Buchholz, senior vice president for Lufthansa's corporate fleet. "Our initial evaluations of the CSeries family of aircraft and discussions with Bombardier over the last few months have evolved and made us believe that the CSeries family of aircraft clearly meets our stringent requirements for sustainable fleet development, both in terms of environmental and commercial requirements, and flexibility for the future. We are proud to be a part of its launch."

Bombardier said its new airliner family is intended to "meet the growing needs of the 100- to 149-seat commercial aircraft market category." The firm estimated that market at some 6,300 aircraft, which Bombardier said represents more than $250 billion US revenue in the next 20 years. The company also said it "expects to be able to capture up to half of this market."

Boeing and Airbus executives at the airshow later responded with "polite condescension" to Bombardier's plans, the Seattle Times reported. One suggested that the market Bombardier identified for its CSeries might not be as robust as the Canadian firm expects, and another noted that Bombardier is launching in a competitive field with a letter of interest, rather than firm orders, for new jets that would use an engine that has yet to be tested in flight, the Seattle Times said.

On July 15, Bombardier announced that it signed a contract with the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC I), to supply the center fuselage on CSeries aircraft.

According to Bombardier, final assembly of the airliners will occur at the firm's facility in Mirabel, Quebec. The aft fuselage and cockpit are to be manufactured at Bombardier's Saint-Laurent facility, also in Quebec. The wings will be designed and manufactured at the company's site in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Bombardier Launches CSeries Aircraft Program
July 13, 2008 — Farnborough, U.K.

Letter of interest for up to 60 aircraft from Lufthansa; significant interest from airlines worldwide Mirabel selected as final assembly site, Bombardier’s Belfast facility for the development and manufacture of the wings; manufacture of aft fuselage and cockpit to take place at Bombardier’s Saint-Laurent site Repayable investments with the governments of Canada and Qu├ębec as well as Northern Ireland and British Government Departments Bombardier today announced that its Board of Directors has granted approval for the launch of the CSeries family of aircraft, a new game-changing five abreast commercial airliner family, with the economics, performance, environmental and passenger-oriented improvements demanded by airline customers for the next quarter century. Entry into service is scheduled for 2013.

Launch customer, Lufthansa, a leading German airline, has signed a letter of interest (LOI) for up to 60 aircraft, including 30 options. The approximate list price of each aircraft is $46.7 million US. Additionally, discussions with a number of established airlines worldwide are progressing well.

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