The Bombardier CSeries CS100 test aircraft on display at Dubai Airshow 2015 – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
I was fortunate enough to attend the Dubai Airshow this year which was held at Al Maktoum International Airport from November 8th to 12th. As part of the various events and substantial flying program, I was invited along with my friend Bernie to attend a press conference and aircraft tour of the new Bombardier CSeries which was present on the static display.
The CSeries has been the center of much media hype and excitement even though it has not always been smooth sailing for the company. Despite the various challenges facing Bombardier at the present time, all the staff were incredibly positive and excited to showcase their aircraft on its first debut in the Middle East. Following a rather spirited press conference where many questions were posed by local media with regards to the regulatory and political complications of selling the aircraft to Middle Eastern Airlines, it was time for the AvGeek’s favorite moment: the aircraft tour!
The aircraft on display at Dubai is used by Bombardier as a test-bed – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
At the time of the aircraft’s debut at the Dubai Airshow, Bombardier was in the final stages of receiving certification from Transport Canada; as such the aircraft on display was a test model without an official certificate of airworthiness. In practice this means that there are a few extra placards on the aircraft and not all equipment is fully operational, however the interior and exterior are identical to what it will be once it enters full scale production post certification.
Bombardier CS100 seen in Porter Airlines livery.
On Wednesday, Porter Airlines President Robert Deluce announced that his airline will be the Canadian launch customer for Bombardier’s next-generation jetliner, the CS100. The conditional order is for 12 CS100s, along with options for an additional 18 aircraft.
The CS100 can fly with up to 110 passengers, with a range of about 5,400 km or just under 3,000 miles, turning Porter into a potential transcontinental carrier. But there are BIG challenges in store for Mr. Deluce and his team at Porter.
The CS100 needs 4,800 feet of runway at maximum take-off weight. As you might have read in AirlineReporter.com’s story on Porter Airlines, they are based at Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop Toronto Island Airport (YTZ). The Q400 turboprops that Porter and Air Canada fly from YTZ operate efficiently and safely from the airport. I got my pilot’s license there in the early 1980s, and the longest runway at the airport is only 4,000 feet. With water at both ends.
BONUS: The First Bombardier CSeries Rolls Out of the Factory
Adding to the runway challenge is the “no jets” restriction in place at the airport. Porter is likely going to face a huge battle with the various residents’ associations and the City of Toronto.
The CS100s may be as quiet as the Q400s, thanks to their new-tech Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofans. Mr. Deluce kept coming back to that point in his press conference yesterday. But nobody really knows, because the CS100 hasn’t yet flown.
I’m guessing that these are the reasons for the conditional order.
BONUS: Interior (mock up) Tour of the Bombardier CSeries in Montreal
So what does Mr. Deluce have up his sleeve? Will he operate the CS100s with less than 110 seats, limiting the take-off weight, so that the plane needs less runway? He says that he’s going to ask the City of Toronto to extend the main runway by 500 feet at both ends, but how many years will it take for the debate and decision, not to mention the construction? Or will he establish a new base for the CS100s at another airport? And what about the “no jets” restriction at YTZ?
This is going to be very interesting! I’m sure that both Air Canada and Westjet are watching closely.
||This story written by… Howard Slutsken, Correspondent.Howard has been an AvGeek since he was a kid, watching TCA Super Connies, Viscounts and early jets at Montreal’s Dorval Airport. He’s a pilot, and gets away to fly gliders whenever he can. Howard is based in Vancouver, BC.