The Bombardier CSeries is a new twin-engine regional jet airliner developed by the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace. It competes with the larger versions of the Embraer E-jets and the smallest members of the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families. Bombardier claims a lower fuel consumption for the CSeries because it is a completely new design including the application of many new technologies.
In the mid-1990s Bombardier considered taking over the ailing Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker, builder of the Fokker 100 regional jet, but this didn't result in a deal. Later, Bombardier started the BRJX design study (=Bombardier Regional Jet eXpansion) for an 80-120-seater with two engines under the wing. Bombardier decided, however, to drop the BRJX and build stretched versions of the CRJ instead, the CRJ700 and the CRJ900.
In July 2004, Bombardier announced the development of the CSeries airliner family. The family members would be larger than the longest CRJ-versions and carry 110 to 130 passengers. Bombardier expected the first deliveries in 2013.
In March 2005, Bombardier announced two versions: the C110 with 100–125 seats and the C130 with 120–145 seats. Later these models were redesignated 'CS100' and 'CS300'. The new aircraft was to be fitted with new fuel-efficient and quiet engines and would incorporate a large amount of composite materials in its airframe. The fuselage would allow five-abreast (2+3) seating in economy class and four-abreast seating (2+2) in first and business class. Early in 2006, however, Bombardier cancelled the programme because of lack of airline interest. Instead, it launched an even further stretch of the CRJ, the 100-seat CRJ-1000. A small team continued working on the CSeries, however.
Market forecasts seemed to improve when engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney presented its Geared Turbofan (GTF) with a gearing system to adjust the rotation speed of the fan to give it the optimal speed during the different stages of a flight to save fuel. In November 2007 Bombardier selected the GTF (now named 'PurePower PW1000G') as the sole power-plant for the CSeries and on 13 July 2008 officially launched the project again. It also announced a formal intention of Lufthansa to buy 30 aircraft with options on a further 30.
The airframe contains 70 per cent advanced materials like composites (46 per cent) and aluminium-lithium (24 per cent) which help to keep the weight of the airframe low and give a significant reduction in maintenance costs. Bombardier claims a 20 per cent lower fuel burn compared with current airliners. The CSeries should also be very quiet, even less noisy than turboprop aircraft.
The cabin has larger windows than comparable airliners and features large rotating overhead storage bins, larger than in any current in-service narrowbody airliner. The seats are almost four centimetres (one-and-an-half inch) wider than those of the competition. The middle seats in economy class are a little extra wider than the neighbouring seats, for extra comfort at this among passengers less popular position.
The first flight of the CS100 was originally planned in the second half of 2012, with deliveries to begin in 2013, and of the CS300 a year later. However, the CS100's maiden flight from Mirabel Airport near Montreal, where final assembly of the aircraft takes place, was delayed until 16 September 2013.
A major setback during the test programme was an uncontained engine failure on one of the test aircraft on 29 May 2014. Flight tests were suspended until the problem, a fault in the lubrication system, was solved. Bombardier resumed flight testing in September 2014. Bombardier delivered the first CS100 to Swiss on 29 June 2016, which made the first commercial flight on 14 July 2016.
- CS300 -
The stretched CS300 first flew on 27 February 2015 and the first delivery took place on 28 November 2016 to AirBaltic. AirBaltic introduced it into service on 14 December 2016 on its Riga to Amsterdam service.
In 2012 Bombardier proposed a 160-seat high-density configuration for t the CS300, aimed at low-cost carriers. With this number of seats the CSeries competes head-on with the Airbus A319neo and the Boeing 737 MAX 7. The high-density variant will have extra overwing exits to comply with emergency evacuation rules.
Until early 2017, Bombardier had acquired firm orders for 360 aircraft (118 CS100s and 242 CS300s) from customers including Lufthansa (for Swiss), Republic Airways Holdings, Korean Air, AirBaltic, Gulf Air, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, Lease Corporation International, Braathens Leasing, Ilyushin Finance and Macquarie AirFinance.
Bombardier has met a lot of criticism because of the slow sales start of the CSeries. The Canadian manufacturer usually responds that it doesn't intend to build the aircraft in the same large numbers as Boeing and Airbus do with their 737 and A320 families and that it expects more orders when the airlines see the aircraft at work in airline service.