PARIS — Following on yesterday’s news of the Bombardier CSeries aircraft beating every major spec during the testing program, Bombardier and Swiss International Airlines confirmed today that at least 10 of the carrier’s 30 orders will be of the larger –300 variant. Due for delivery in the 2017 timeframe, the middle group of 10 aircraft will allow the carrier to offer the route flexibility it requires, more than just the performance and flexibility options which the program overall offers.
Bombardier reiterated its expectations that the program will reach certification by the end of 2015. Speaking at the event in Paris Harry Hohmeister, CEO of Swiss, held firm on the mid-2016 entry-in-service target date, noting that the company would be able to provide two to three months’ of advance guidance “in February or March” of next year.
In a nod to the delays on the program (expectation at the signing of the order was for a 2014 delivery) Hohmeister added, “It was worth every penny and every second of investment.” That positive attitude can also be attributed to the fact that FTV5, the aircraft flying in Swiss livery, will leave from Paris mid-week for a visit to Zurich, where Swiss employees will begin their familiarization with the aircraft.
Also speaking to flexibility of the CSeries aircraft, Hohmeister confirmed that the interior layout will feature 125 seats in a 2-3 setup. The forward portion of the aircraft will feature a flexible “EuroBiz” cabin configuration. Business class passengers will be assured an empty adjacent seat which, for passengers on the 2-seat side, means quite a bit of personal space on board. The forward rows will also have 32 inches of pitch, a bit more than the seats in the back. The business class cabin will vary in size thanks to a movable curtain configuration similar to today’s operations.