Delta eyes New York, LA bases for new Bombardier C Series jets

By Bloomberg News, August 15 2017
Delta eyes New York, LA bases for new Bombardier C Series jets

Delta Air Lines is eyeing New York and Los Angeles as the main bases for Bombardier's new C Series jetliner next year, offering a glimpse of how carriers can add service economically with the midsize plane.

Dallas is also likely to get a lot of C Series flights, Delta said in an internal memo to pilots, a copy of which was reviewed by Bloomberg News. That sets up a test of the carrier’s ability to use the single-aisle aircraft to attract customers in the backyard of American Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

Delta is the first major U.S. carrier to buy the C Series, a midrange aircraft that offers roomier interiors than regional jets while typically carrying fewer passengers than a plane from the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 families.

The Bombardier aircraft, which the Montreal-based company has spent at least US$6 billion to develop, should enable airlines to offer comfy rides to midsize cities without flooding the market with too many seats.

“From the standpoint of operating costs, from the standpoint of ownership costs, it’s an ideal aircraft for these not-quite-mainline markets,” said Robert Mann, an aviation consultant and former airline executive. “If it performs as advertised, reliably, it’s going to be a real game-changer.”

Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for Delta, declined to comment on the memo or how the company will use the C Series.

The aircraft is scheduled to enter service for the Atlanta-based airline in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Aug 7 notice to pilots, which described preliminary plans for the planes.

Boeing complaint

The U.S. airline ordered at least 75 of the CS100 models last year in a deal valued at US$5.6 billion, before the discounts that are customary for large aircraft purchases.

Ordering the C Series was a bit of an anomaly for Delta under former Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson, who had historically preferred more tested airplanes over new models. He handed over the reins as CEO to Ed Bastian days after the order was announced.

The purchase threw a lifeline to Bombardier after the C Series program came in two and a half years late and more than US$2 billion over budget.

But the transaction also prompted Boeing to file a trade complaint with the U.S. government, accusing Bombardier of selling Delta the planes at “absurdly low” prices while benefiting from unfair Canadian government subsidies and calling for tariffs. Bombardier has denied the allegations.

Air Baltic, which began flying CS300 planes in December, has seen a 21 percent improvement in fuel economy compared with the Boeing 737-300s that the model is replacing, Chief Executive Officer Martin Gauss has said. Bombardier had promised a 19 percent boost.

Passenger feedback has focused on lower noise levels, a brighter interior and bigger spaces for stowing baggage, Gauss added.

Swiss, which last year became the first operator of the CS100, has also praised the jet’s performance.

Regional jet replacement

Delta will place the new CS100 planes on popular routes now served by the airline’s largest 76-seat regional jets, which will free up those planes to replace 50-seat aircraft around Delta’s system, President Glen Hauenstein said last month.

He said New York would get the first CS100, without providing additional details. The plane has 108 seats in a standard dual-class configuration, according to Bombardier.

In Dallas, Delta may see a chance to poach some business customers from hometown carriers American and Southwest, potentially taking a bite out of their profit margins, said aviation consultant George Hamlin.

“Southwest is very much a thorn in Delta’s side in its home market in Atlanta,” Hamlin said. “The airline business is about margins, so if you can pry a modest amount of business from your competitor, the margin in that market may become problematic for the incumbent.”

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 340

Glad to hear that this little gem of a plane is finally getting some recognition for its superb design and performance attributes (which, let's be honest have had to face some major teething problems to get to this stage).

Wonder if Qantas would consider the CS100 or CS300??

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2015

Total posts 123

I would like to see the C series in Australia, but I don't think any Australian airline will be ordering it, one can only wish..

As an armchair CEO, I would have ordered some C series aircraft, instead of purchasing used Fokkers..

I was recently reading John Borghetti's biography and the last few chapters concentrate on the capacity war between QF and VA, and after the inception of VA, QF was putting 2 aircraft, for every 1 added by VA.

For a country of roughly 25 million, there is still excess capacity in the market, I think the C series would have complemented the market well. Out of the two major airlines, I think it would have given VA the edge over QF in the domestic market.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

21 Jan 2016

Total posts 197

I agree. The C series is going down very well with passengers and flight crews, saying its a great aircraft. Air Baltic and Swiss Air has said  that the C series can open new routes that are medium density or that are both medium/high density.

Currently the C series is being tested for London City Airport and apparently based on test request to date, could make the C series, the aircraft of choice to service London City Airport.

I do agree, that the C series could be a good aircraft for 2nd level regional Australian domestic services to supplement B737 regional services for those domestic destinations that have low to medium regional jet service requirements. I don't see Air NZ buying the C series for NZ domestic regional services. They are stuck with their ATR72's.

If Bombardier does develop the C300 extended range version, then possible Trans Tasman and Australian trans continental services could on the cards.

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