C-GROV, the first A220-300 operated by Air Canada – Photo: John Jamieson
On January 15th, North America’s fifth-largest airline became the newest operator of the Airbus A220. At Air Canada’s headquarters in Montreal, Fin 101 (C-GROV) was unveiled to employees, honored guests, and members of the media. Over the course of the event, we were able to go onboard the aircraft and take in the A220’s unique features. We also managed to interview Mark Galardo, Air Canada’s VP Network Planning.
With the focus of the event firmly on the aircraft (as opposed to a new destination), we’ve focused our analysis on the physical benefits. That said, we’ll have a thorough examination of the aircraft’s operational benefits, and our interview, in a future post. For now, follow along as we cover Fin 101 from nose to tail and explore every inch of Canada’s newest clean-sheet aircraft.
I first flew in a Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 as a passenger in October 2015 and, less than a year later, I got to co-pilot one! Well, not exactly… Not being a qualified pilot, I am unlikely to fly one any time soon. However, that did not prevent me from experiencing the next best thing: a ride in FlightSafety’s multimillion-dollar Dash 8 simulator, one of which is housed in the US aviation training company’s UK base at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire.
FlightSafety Simulator – Photo: FlightSafety International Inc
Sales Manager Cristina Rodriguez, Dash 8 Program Manager (and examiner) MichÃ¨le Rodrigues, and Q400 Simulator Flight Instructor Bill Grevaux recently welcomed me to join them in the aircraft-type simulator. How could I refuse?
Our ride: Q400 Dash 8 – Photo: Alastair Long
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 atÂ 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 attendÂ 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 ofÂ 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 CSeries CS300 takes flight for the first time – Photo: Seth Miller | AirwaysNews
The full story was written by Seth Miller on AirwaysNews.com.Â
The Bombardier CS300, the newest commercial aircraft on the market, madeÂ its maidenÂ flight just after 11:00 a.m. yesterdayÂ atÂ Montrealâ€™s Mirabel airport.Â The larger CSeries variantÂ followsÂ the smaller CS100, which took to the skies 17 months ago.
For Bombardier, this is a significant step forward for a project whichÂ has seen its share of challenges. As a “clean-sheetâ€ aircraft design, such challenges are not unexpected; Boeing and Airbus experiencedÂ similar delays with the 787 and A350, respectively. Bombardierâ€™s newÂ CEO, Alain M. Bellemare, described the event as â€œan inflection pointâ€ inÂ the CSeries project, â€œwhere weâ€™re finally reaching momentum and we canÂ go to market with a solid product for our customers.â€
The first CS300 taxis – Photo: Seth Miller | Airways News
The test flight came on the second day of the three-day window Bombardier allotted for the event. Initial plans to run the test flight on Thursday were hampered by cold weather, wind, and snow earlier in the week in Mirabel; that weather prevented final pre-flight testing from happening. It wasÂ colder yesterday than earlier in the week â€“ probably the coldest first flight ever â€“ but the low temperatures did not prevent the first flight.
With both theÂ CS100 and CS300 now flying, the company is able to aggressively pushÂ towards the completion of the flight test regimen and enter the airliner into service. It is also worth noting that the CSeries plan is somewhat unusual in having both types flying test flights concurrently rather than a sequential process of EIS on the first followed by testing of the second. Delays in the CS100 test program can be blamed in part for these circumstances.
A special CS300 ice sculpture to celebrate the first flight – Photo: Seth Miller | AirwaysNews
The CSeries aircraft promises a more comfortable passenger cabin combined with lower costs for the airlines and quieter operations for the passengers and those who live near the airports. While the interior of the CS300 is not yet on display to media, the noise aspectÂ was demonstrated during the first flight departure; the CRJ900 â€“ a quiet plane in its own right â€“ was notably louder than the CS300 flying just ahead of it during the first flight departure.
Continue readingÂ Bombardier CSeries CS300 Achieves First Flight on AirwaysNews.com
The CS100 during test flights – Photo: Bombardier
Bombardier’s in a bad way lately. Their stock has hit some heavy chop, recently dropping 32% in a three-day period. There’s a margin warning. The company is pricing in a “bankruptcy scenario”. On top of that, the stock fell 11% after they announced the removal of their troubled CEO.
The company is ridiculously leveraged. The cost of a credit default swap on Bombardier has risen 500 basis points. There are even serious questions regarding the company’s liquidity.
The Learjet 85 – Photo: Bombardier
This whole mess started when the company announced that it was “pausing”Â its advanced, composite, Learjet 85 for an indefinite period of time due to lack of demand. Now, canceling a business jet should not result in massive investor panic and questions over the viability of a commercial program. The problem is,Â Bombardier finances a lot of its projects off of the revenue generated by its business jet division and debt. The CRJ and Q400 program, along with trains, are relatively low margin.
There’s a reason investors are starting to, in the words of one firm “[give] up hope.”
Bombardier is suspending its shareholder dividends and working on raising an additional $2.1 billion in capital.
The thing is, in the paraphrased words of Richard Aboulafia at the Teal Group, these moves display a startling amount of intelligence and transparency. The question is, is it too late for Bombardier?