Bombardier unveils launch customer for CS300 airliner

Latvian flag carrier airBaltic is the launch customer for Bombardier’s new CS300 C Series airliner.
Latvian flag carrier airBaltic is the launch customer for Bombardier’s new CS300 C Series airliner. Courtesy of Bombardier

Bombardier identified its launch customer for the C Series CS300 airliner at the Dubai Air Show.

The Canadian parent of Learjet said Sunday that the customer for the airplane is airBaltic, the flag carrier for Latvia. It has placed firm orders for 13 of the airplanes with options for seven more.

The CS300 is the larger of its two new C Series airliners, with capacity for up to 160 passengers and a list price of $82 million. Bombardier did not disclose the value of the airBaltic deal, though it’s likely the Latvian carrier received discounts because it is the airplane’s launch customer.

Bombardier said it has 603 orders and commitments for the CS300 and CS100, 243 of which are firm orders.

Also on Sunday, Bombardier said it was nearing completion of the CS100 flight test program and was “on track” for certification of the airplane by Transport Canada – the Canadian equivalent of the Federal Aviation Administration – this year.

Bombardier has struggled with the C Series program, including recording billions of dollars of charges on development of the airplane aimed at competing with Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320. The new airplane was approved by Bombardier’s board of directors in 2008 and was originally set to enter service in 2013.

Sterne Agee CRT analyst Peter Arment wrote in an Oct. 27 note to investors that C Series development costs have exceeded $5 billion and that Bombardier would need another $2 billion in cash to certify the airplane and get it through the first three years of production.

Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita manufactures the pylons for the C Series, which hold the engine to the wing and house systems such as gas and hydraulic lines.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.