Air Transport World

A quiet confidence: Farnborough was a quiet show buoyed by upward-trend optimism.(Air Show)

The scarcity of new developments announced at this year's Farnborough air show stood in stark contrast to the overall feeling of relief that pervaded the attitude of show exhibitors, relief that the cycle finally has turned the corner and business is in the first stages of recovery. Forecasts started to trend upward and building rates are following slowly.

Bombardier stole center stage among airframers by detailing a completely new 110/135-seat airliner, first discussed this spring, that could enter service in 2010 (ATW, 4/04, p. 44). Other regional jet developments included the first air show appearance by the Embraer 190. Otherwise, a few orders were announced at or during the show but most of the various briefings and press conferences focused on updating existing programs, with a few talking about end-of-the-decade developments.

Meanwhile, it was Bombardier with the news: An airliner family dubbed CSeries that will come in two sizes, 110 and 135 seats, if the company can construct a persuasive business case and find an appropriate engine, said Gary Scott, New Commercial Aircraft Program president, and Pierre Beaudoin, president and COO. With five-abreast coach seating, the CSeries would offer ranges of 1,800 to 3,259 nm and cash operating costs some 15% below current-production aircraft, with half of that reduction goal to come from engine fuel burn and maintenance improvements, Scott told ATW.

The program, currently in the feasibility study phase, may go before the Bombardier board for approval by late this year or early next year, leading to an industrial launch in mid-2005 to meet a 2010 EIS, Scott said. However, because "there is not an engine out there that achieves what we want to achieve," the manufacturer is in talks with engine-builders to get proposals for a new powerplant, said John Holding, executive VP-integrated product definition and planning.

The CSeries cannot go ahead until the powerplant is selected--hopefully by year end--risk-sharing partners are identified among the ranks of vendors, and government backing is acquired to support equal one-third shares of the approximate $2 billion development price tag along with the vendors and Bombardier, Beaudoin said. …

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