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On track

After development problems, the Bombardier C Series seems to have settled into routine airline service, says Mario Pierobon

The C Series programme is going according to plan. Late in 2016, airBaltic, the second operator of the C Series, took delivery of the first CS300 aircraft, and it has been a smooth experience. So far airBaltic has received seven of its 20 Bombardier CS300 orders. “The aircraft has performed beyond the company’s expectations, delivering better overall performance, fuel efficiency and convenience for both staff and the passengers,” says a spokesperson for airBaltic. “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, improved lavatories, and other improvements. The new aircraft is also much quieter – with a noise footprint which is four times smaller.”

Steep approach

Earlier in 2017, Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) awarded the CS100 aircraft the steep approach certification. The CS100’s capability to operate at challenging airports such as London City Airport (LCY) was validated by Bombardier’s flight test programmes. SWISS is the first airline to operate the C Series at LCY and offers a regular service from its main hub in Zurich, whereas operations from Geneva will commence as of the summer season of 2018.


The steep approach certification of the CS100 is opening up new possibilities for airlines operating at challenging airports, with the aircraft set to double the range that can be viably flown from LCY. The successful validation flights at the airport, followed by a landmark direct flight from LCY to John F. Kennedy International Airport, demonstrated the aircraft’s capabilities: a single class CS100 aircraft can fly 2,200nm from LCY non-stop.


“The CS100 aircraft is the most efficient and economical commercial aircraft. The C Series will allow airlines to viably offer direct intercontinental flights from LCY Airport to both North America and the Middle-East, in addition to opening numerous new route opportunities within Europe, Russia and Northern Africa, which were not possible with previous-generation aircraft,” notes a spokesperson from Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “With the lowest noise and emissions levels of any commercial aircraft in its class, the C Series aircraft is ideal for urban operations and noise-sensitive airports. 


The CS100 aircraft has a much lower noise footprint compared to other commercial jets, and provides a better quality environment for London residents, as it is the quietest commercial aircraft in production.”

Maintenance and maintainability

Since the C Series’ entry into service, much has been learnt about the maintenance and maintainability of the aircraft. SWISS and airBaltic have completed 17 line checks so far, with no significant findings.

The span time for these checks is under three hours, which is industry leading, according to Todd Young, Vice President and General Manager of Customer Services and of the Q400 Aircraft Program at Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. Other airline officials are in relative agreement about the C Series’ modest maintenance needs:


“The C Series is a sophisticated aircraft and a lot of aircraft systems data is available in the so-called Onboard Maintenance System (OMS). This allows aircraft engineers to perform efficient troubleshooting and fault rectification. In general, the feedback from our aircraft engineers is that it takes a little time to get used to this highly digitalised environment, but after a while the amount of information that is provided by the aircraft is really appreciated,” says Malte Kriszun, Aircraft Systems Engineer at SWISS.


“The new aircraft is rather friendly maintenance-wise. Our maintenance and flight staff is well prepared to perform maintenance, and we are continuing to work in close cooperation with Bombardier as well,” says Aleksandrs Vorobjovs, Senior Avionics Engineer at airBaltic.


Since both the CS100 and CS300 aircraft are very similar – they share 99% parts commonality – the maintenance of the two variants are also very similar. “From a pure maintenance perspective there is no difference in working on a CS100 compared to a CS300,” Kriszun says.


“Even though airBaltic does not have a single CS100 in its fleet, it is apparent that from the maintenance point of view both the CS100 and CS300 aircraft are very similar. The differences include: brakes; main wheel tyres; and certain software, as well as fuselage length. The similarity of both aircraft types can be easily appreciated by the maintenance and flight crew staff of mixed-fleet operators,” says Vorobjovs. >>

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