Bombardier’s CSeries has received its first order from a US carrier, with Delta Air Lines to purchase 75 CS100s and hold options over a further 50 aircraft.
The order is the latest show of confidence in the CSeries program in 2016, after Air Canada ended a year-long order drought in February when it signed a letter of intent to buy 45 CS300s, as well as options for 30 more of the type.
Delta said the CSeries would help the Skyteam member and Virgin Australia alliance partner “reshape and upgauge” its narrowbody fleet, adding that some of the 50 options may be converted to the larger CS300s at a future time.
“As we reshape our fleet for the future, the innovative onboard experience of the C Series is a perfect complement for the top-notch service provided every day by Delta people,” Delta’s incoming chief executive Ed Bastian said in a statement.
“These new aircraft are a solid investment, allowing us to take advantage of superior operating economics, network flexibility and best-in-class fuel performance.”
First delivery to Delta was expected to take place in 2018.
As a result of its CSeries order, Delta said it would no longer bring the Embraer E190 into its fleet as planned.
The CS100 – one of its flight test aircraft four was on display at the Singapore Airshow in Swiss livery in February – was certified at the end of 2015, with entry into service with launch customer Swiss due before the end of June. The CS300 is expected to follow six months later.
The smaller CS100 is designed to seat 110 passengers in a single-class configuration, while the larger CS300 can carry 135 passengers based on 32in seat pitch.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G geared turbofan, the CSeries competes for the lower end of the narrowbody market alongside the Embraer E2 and Mitsubishi Regional Jet, and to a lesser degree designs from Sukhoi and COMAC.
Securing Delta as its first US customer for the CSeries may help make up for Bombardier’s unsuccessful efforts to complete a deal with United in January, when the Star Alliance carrier ended up signing for Boeing 737-700NGs for what market analysts said was a very low price.
“We are very proud to welcome Delta as a C Series customer and to expand our partnership with such a prestigious airline,” Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare said.
“Given Delta’s position as one of the world’s largest and most respected airlines, this deal is a strong endorsement of the C Series as the best performing aircraft in the 100-150 passenger class.
Delta, which has retired 280 50-seat aircraft and 130 other narrowbody aircraft since 2009, said the CSeries would support the airline’s efforts to reduce fuel consumption and cut its carbon footprint.
(Read more about Bombardier and the CSeries in the April edition of Australian Aviation.)