In the global aircraft market, a new serious contender has emerged - Bombardier's C-series aircraft. With the behemoth added to its stable, the Canadian manufacturer is wooing airlines for orders.
Bombardier took the aircraft on a world tour and one of the stops was India; the plane was showcased to prospective buyers at the Indira Gandhi International airport. The C-series aircraft belongs to a family of narrow-body, twin-engine, medium-range jet airliners originally designed by Bombardier.
But its narrow design is in no way a down side. The 160-seater, single-aisle aircraft boasts of an enhanced cabin design with bigger and wider seats, larger over-head cabins and windows as well as a broader aisle. It also offers wide-body comfort in a narrow-body aircraft. The seats, too, provide more elbow room with the middle seats being 19 inches wide and aisle and window seats being 18.5 inches wide. The windows in the aircraft are as big as those on the Boeing-777, 50 per cent larger than an Airbus-320 and 26 per cent larger than a Boeing-737. This allows more natural light inside the aircraft as well as an aisle-seat occupant to enjoy the view outside better.
The aisle is roomier too, with a width of 20 inches, allowing a passenger to walk past a food trolley. The overhead storage cabins are 10 cm lower (as compared to a Boeing-737) and are opened upwards unlike most other aircraft where the lid has to be pulled down. The new design allows passengers easier access to the storage. However, lower height also means you could bump your head into it. The C-series includes two models - CS-100 and CS-300 - which burn 20 per cent less fuel than the older generation aircraft.
It consumes two litres of fuel per passenger per 100 km. The aircraft is 6,000 kilograms lighter, translating into lower fuel burn, owing to its design material. The CS-100 will compete with the Embraer E195-E2 while the CS-300 is pitted against Boeing-737 Max 7, Airbus A319neo, and Irkut MC-21-200. For the first time in a single-aisle aircraft, the wings are composite and the fuselage is made of aluminium-lithium. Therefore, it is 10 per cent lighter but 250 per cent more resistant to corrosion and 40 per cent stronger in fatigue.
These features mean that the plane requires maintenance after a longer interval. Generally, older generation aircraft require a B-check after flying for 750 hours and C-checks after 7,500 hours. But in the new C-series, the B-check are needed after 850 hours and C-checks after 8,500 hours. Thus, the aircraft spends more time in the air flying and generating more revenue for the airline as opposed to spending time on routine checks.
Bombardier currently has more than 350 orders globally for its C-series aircraft and its clients include Air Baltic, Swiss Air and Delta Air.