APEX Insight: Bombardier’s Atmosphère cabin interior, which will launch on the CRJ series in 2018, was introduced at the airframer’s Aero Perspective media event in Mirabel, Quebec, today. Other announcements included a new 82-seat configuration for the Q400 turboprop and updates on C Series operations.
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft held its Aero Perspectives media event at Mirabel Airport in Montreal today. The event took place just four days short of the fourth anniversary of the first flight of the airframer’s newest passenger plane, the C Series.
The CRJ series will see the introduction of “Atmosphère,” featuring an updated interior for the long-established regional jet, in the second half of 2018. The passenger-centric design includes innovative finishes, mood lighting, a PRM (persons with reduced mobility) compliant lavatory and more carry-on luggage space. Bombardier recognizes that connectivity is a passenger necessity, so Atmosphère CRJs will feature a “connected cabin.”
The Q400 turboprop will switch to a new 82-seat configuration. The plane’s entryway has been opened up with the removal of the starboard side forward baggage hold. This gives the plane a brighter interior with the addition of three windows, and reduces the plane’s weight and maintenance costs.
The C Series has had a smooth entry into service, according to Bombardier’s Istifan Ghanem, director, C Series program manager. “We invested a lot in the product development phase to make sure the aircraft is reliable. In the first month of operation with SWISS, the C Series got a lot higher utilization compared to other new aircraft. It went as smoothly as SWISS’ new Boeing 777, a mature aircraft.”
Ghanem shared some statistics of the utilization of the current small fleet of C Series. “We’re getting an average of 17 flight hours per day, 74-minute flight times, and up to 10 legs a day with 35-minute turnarounds. The plane is designed for 20-minute turnarounds.”
The single-aisle, 125-seat CS100 entered service with SWISS International Air Lines in July 2016, and the carrier now has 11 C Series in its fleet, with 19 more planes to come. SWISS flies 10 CS100s, and the balance of its C Series will be made up of the larger 135-seat CS300. “The bulk of these have been replacing the Avro RJ100s,” said Sven Thaler, captain, director, deputy fleet chief Bombardier C Series, SWISS. “The other C Series aircraft will partly be used to replace other existing aircraft and partly permit moderate further growth. We plan to phase in all C Series by the end of 2018.”
Beginning in December 2016, Riga-based airBaltic was the first airline to fly the CS300, and has received seven of its 20 aircraft order. “The new CS300 aircraft, with 145 seats, offers an excellent flying experience with benefits for passengers such as wider seats, larger windows, more hand luggage space in the cabin and improved lavatories,” said Pauls Calitis, SVP Flight Operations, airBaltic, in an email. “It is also much quieter – with four times smaller noise footprint.”
Both airlines have received positive comments from passengers about the C Series’ onboard experience, in addition to the plane being a favorite with cabin and flight crews. “Our customers ask for more CS300 in airBaltic’s network spanning Europe, the CIS and the Middle East. They also claim themselves as feeling privileged to have flown on the most modern narrow-body jet on the planet,” said Calitis.
“Our customers ask for more CS300 in airBaltic’s network.” – Pauls Calitis, airBaltic
SWISS has received similar comments from its C Series passengers, according to Thaler. “The feedback from our customers is very positive. They appreciate the state-of-the-art short- and mid-haul aircraft that offers a bright and welcoming cabin, large windows, lots of carry-on space as well as comfortable seats and adequate legroom.”
Last month, SWISS introduced the CS100 on flights to London City, an operationally challenging airport with a short runway and steep approach. “We’re not just the largest aircraft at London City, we’re also the quietest,” said Thaler.
AirBaltic is taking advantage of the CS300’s range with a new route from Riga to Abu Dhabi. Airlines including Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, Korean Air, and Gulf Air have ordered a total of 360 C Series jets.