Bombardier Aerospace announced late last week that Delta Air Lines agreed to order 75 of the company’s C-Series airliners in a deal worth up to $5.6 billion.
Shortly after the deal’s announcement, Bombardier flew one of its C-Series demonstrators down to Delta’s Atlanta headquarters for journalists and the the airline’s staff to get a closer look.
Although Bombardier has been a global leader in business and regional jets, the C-Series is the first product from the Canadian aeroplane to compete against Boeing and Airbus in the mainline market.
The decision to enter the market with the C Series was a major financial gamble for Bombardier with program price tag of $5.5 billion. Since its inception more than a decade ago, the aircraft has been beset by a series of development delays and slow sales.
Last year, the aeroplane maker was forced to write down $4.4 billion and take a $1 billion bailout from the Quebec government.
Even as it struggled to close a sale, Bombardier was credited with building an aircraft that’s one of the most capable on the market today — besting its rivals from Boeing and Airbus in terms of efficiency and ability.
With the Delta order, Bombardier not only has found a US launch customer for the C Series, it has the blockbuster deal it needed to validate the attractiveness of aircraft to other prospective buyers.
The Bombardier C Series enters service later this year with SWISS.
Here’s a closer look at the airliner.
Delta opted for the smaller CS100. However, expect the airline to switch some of its order to the larger jet down the road.
According to Bombardier, the C Series' greatest selling points are its efficiency and cabin comfort.
In addition, its pair of Pratt & Whitney PW1500 geared turbofan engines are some of the most fuel efficient on the market and help make the aeroplane 15% cheaper to operate than aircraft that's currently in production.
According to Bombardier, the C Series also emits 20% less carbon dioxide during operation and is the quietest airliner on the market.
In January, former Delta CEO Richard Anderson cited the aeroplane's engines as a major reason for the airline's interest in the C Series.
With a range of more than 3,500 miles, the CS100 allows Delta to operate routes its smaller jets had not been able to reach before.
Step inside the Bombardier's cabin and you'll find a surprisingly spacious interior for a relatively small 108-seat aircraft.
Look toward the back of the plane and you see the CS100's five-abreast seating configuration in economy class. That means there's only one middle seat per row as opposed to two per row on the rival Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family jets.
Since the aircraft presented to the press was one of Bombardier's demonstrators, the interior did not have Delta's seats, lighting, and in-flight entertainment systems. However, the layout of the cabin is accurate.
Even with Delta's specified interior, the CS100 should have the widest economy seats in the market at 19 inches. But the seat pitch should remain Delta's standard 30 to 31 inches which is solid, but not industry leading.
Bombardier designed the CS100's overhead bins to open 5 inches lower, which makes it easier to load baggage. The overhead bins are also designed to hold over-sized carry-on luggage.
In cockpit, the C Series features five large, 15.1 inch displays. Here's Captain Steve Paradis who helped fly the plane down to Atlanta from Montreal.
The Bombardier CS100 is a full fly-by-wire aircraft which means the side sticks have no physical connection to the the aeroplane's control services. Instead, the aircraft is flown through computer inputs.
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