Tag Archives: Bombardier

Flybe Launches at Heathrow

Flybe has launched scheduled flights from London/Heathrow.  The Exeter-based regional carrier introduced its first of 40 weekly connections from the capital to Aberdeen and Edinburgh on March 26, operated by its fleet of Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprops.

Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener said: “We are so pleased to confirm further our commitment to Scotland by offering even more flights to London with our two new routes from Edinburgh and Aberdeen to Heathrow’s Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, giving passengers greater choice and linking them with our range of codeshare partners through our ‘One Stop to the World’ approach.”

Flybe’s arrival at Heathrow comes just two months after the airport reduced its charges for domestic passengers in a bid to improve regional connectivity.

The carrier gained access into the capacity-constrained hub via slots surrendered by British Airways’ parent International Airlines Group (IAG) following its 2012 acquisition of British Midland International.  Under the terms of the deal, the European Commission ordered IAG to release 14 daily slot pairs, seven of which were to facilitate new competition between Heathrow and Edinburgh and/or Aberdeen.  As a result, Flybe was not required to pay for these slots.

Swiss Opts for More CS300s

Swiss International Airlines has revealed it is converting its five remaining options for the Bombardier C Series to the larger CS300.

The company, which was the launch customer for the CS100, will eventually operate a fleet of ten CS100s and 20 CS300s. Swiss says new aircraft deliveries will reduce the average age of its fleet from 12.5 years to 8.5 years by the end of 2018.

The Star Alliance carrier is also investing CHF100m in refurbishing its five remaining Airbus A340s and launching a programme to introduce inflight connectivity to its medium- and short-haul fleets next year.

“By the end of next year we will have one of Europe’s most advanced and efficient aircraft fleets,” explained Thomas Klühr, Swiss’ CEO.

Investments will also be made at the airline’s Zurich Airport hub. A new First Class Lounge will be introduced on the Check-In 1 concourse by the end of the year providing guests with their own security checkpoint and a dedicated walkway to their limousine transport. The 650m2 facility will also have an à la carte restaurant, a staffed bar and an area equipped with workstations and showers.

The Business Class and Senator Lounges in Terminal A will be refurbished with work scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2018. These investments total more than CHF15m.

“Our new premium product on the ground will offer our customers genuinely new levels of air travel comfort and convenience,” explained Klühr.

This news came on the back of a strong financial year for Swiss in 2016. The carrier reported earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of CHF429m.  “All in all, Swiss can look back on a very successful 2016,” said Klühr.  “We are in sound financial health, and we will continue to invest in our premium air travel product, for the benefit of our customers.”

The carrier warned it expects to post an EBIT for 2017 “slightly below” its 2016 level. It attributed this to the “challenging competitive environment, the strength of the Swiss franc, the present geopolitical uncertainties and the recent tangible increase in the price of oil”.

FAI Phases out last Learjet 35A

Nuremberg-based special mission operator FAI rent-a-jet has bid farewell to its last Learjet 35A, D-COKE (c/n 447).  The aircraft has been sold to Jet Rescue Air Ambulance of Mexico and has been reregistered XA-DOC.  It was handed over to the CEO of the Mexican firm, Carlos Salinas, during a ceremony at Albrecht Duerer International Airport in Nuremberg on February 26.

FAI’s decision to retire the Learjet 35A is based on rising demand for larger cabins in the air ambulance market as well as economic factors.  The German firm had operated four Learjet 35As, clocking up 38,000 hours across the fleet.

“Today is an emotional day.  This Learjet type was our first Learjet aircraft and served as the engine for the company´s growth in the field of air ambulance,” said FAI´s Founder and Chairman, Siegfried Axtmann.  “I hope that it will perform many happy landings for its new owner.”

FAI’s group fleet now consists of two Learjet 55s, 11 Learjet 60s, five Challenger 604s, three Global Express, a Premier 1A and a King Air 350.  Another Challenger 604 and Global are due to be added shortly.

“Sooner or later FAI will also outsource its remaining two Learjet 55 models by replacing them with Learjet 60s and we will be in the good position of operating only two different aircraft models (Learjet 60 and Challenger 604) across our worldwide air ambulance service”, added Axtmann.

CityJet Completes Cimber Deal

Dublin-based CityJet has completed the acquisition of Danish regional carrier Cimber from SAS Scandinavian Airlines.  The deal, which is expected to be finalised on January 31, sees the Irish carrier assume control of Cimber, its 11-strong fleet of Bombardier CRJ900s and its entire Copenhagen-based network, which is flown on behalf of SAS.  It also includes the extension of CityJet’s own wet-lease agreement with the Scandinavian flag carrier from three years to six.

Commenting on the acquisition, CityJet Executive Chairman Pat Byrne said: “This new SAS contract and the growth delivered by the acquisition of Cimber advances CityJet’s stated strategy of building its role as a provider of regional jet capacity to airlines across Europe and follows our successful inauguration of services on behalf of SAS in March 2016.  We welcome the new staff members of Cimber into the CityJet family, joining the 870 current employees, including almost 200 based in the Nordic region.”

Elsewhere, CityJet has signed a provisional commitment to replace Cimber’s 11 CRJ900s with up to ten new-build examples.  Under the terms of the Conditional Purchase Agreement signed on January 24, the Irish carrier will acquire six aircraft, with four purchase options.  These are in addition to CityJet’s existing commitment for 12 examples placed last April, eight of which are already in service with the remaining four due for delivery later this year.  The airline’s entire CRJ fleet will continue to operate for SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

Regional One Acquires CRJ900s

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft Asset Management has remarketed 13 second-hand CRJ900s to Regional One.  Two of the jets were owned by Bombardier with the other 11 remarketed on behalf of a third party.

Nine of the aircraft have already been delivered to the Miami-based company, eight in 2016 and one this year.  The remaining four are scheduled for delivery later this year.

Regional One is a purchaser, lessor and seller of aircraft, aircraft parts, engines, engine parts and other related support items for regional/commuter aircraft worldwide.

Island Air Selects Q400

Hawaiian regional carrier Island Air has taken delivery of the first of three 78-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprops it is leasing via Irish firm Elix Aviation Capital.

“As we look to expand our regional route network and connect local residents and visitors across the islands, the reliable, operationally flexible and cost efficient Q400 turboprop is the perfect choice to take our airline to the next level,” said David Uchiyama,‎ CEO and President, Hawaii Island Air.  “Additionally, the comprehensive support from Bombardier in acquiring the aircraft and integrating them into our network reconfirms our decision to utilise this manufacturer and superior product for our fleet renewal and expansion strategy.”

Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, added: “The technologically advanced, environmentally friendly Q400 aircraft is ideal for operations in Hawaii’s hot, humid, topographically diverse landscape and will serve Island Air well as it strives to achieve its business objectives.”

Two-class Q400s for Philippine Airlines

Philippine Airlines will be the launch customer for the two-class 86-seat variant of Bombardier’s Q400 turboprop.

A firm order for five aircraft and purchase rights for an additional seven was finalised on December 8. The deal follows a letter of intent signed in October and is valued at $165m, rising to $401m if all purchase rights are exercised.

“As we strive to become a top-rated airline, the Q Series family of aircraft has enabled us to develop our business model into one which efficiently meets our domestic route requirements while providing our passengers with a full service on board experience”, said Jaime J Bautista, President and Chief Operating Officer, Philippine Airlines. “We are proud of our collaboration with Bombardier and welcome the first modern and innovatively configured two-class, 86-seat Q400 aircraft to our growing fleet.”

Deliveries of the five aircraft will take place throughout 2017.

Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, added: “With the lowest seat-mile costs in the regional aircraft market, the extra-capacity, two-class Q400 aircraft will offer Philippine Airlines significant opportunities to differentiate itself competitively. The Q400 aircraft is the ideal solution for the airline as it develops its domestic operations network from secondary hubs and increases intra-island connectivity.”

Air Tanzania to Get C Series

Dar es Salaam-based Air Tanzania will add two Bombardier CS300 airliners to its fleet after the Tanzanian Government Flight Agency (TGFA) signed a firm purchase agreement with the manufacturer. Also included in the deal is a Q400 turboprop.

The three aircraft, which have a combined value of $200m, will be leased and operated by Air Tanzania. Two Q400s entered service with the carrier earlier this year, flying domestic and regional services.

The Q400 will feature a 76-seat all-economy configuration while the CS300 will be in a two-class layout and equipped with WiFi and in-flight entertainment.

“The domestic market in Tanzania as well as the regional market are becoming more competitive as both business and leisure travel are steadily increasing,” said Dr Leonard Chamuriho, Permanent Secretary at Tanzania’s Ministry of Works, Communications and Transport. “Therefore it is vital to operate aircraft that offer superb passenger comfort and amenities.  Of course, high reliability, operational flexibility, as well as excellent fuel efficiency and economics are also necessary.  Both the Q400 and CS300 aircraft more than satisfy these parameters.”

Jean-Paul Boutibou, Vice President, Sales, Africa and the Middle East, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, added: “We are delighted that the Q400 aircraft which entered service with Air Tanzania earlier this year are proving their superior economics and versatility. The CS300 aircraft will allow Air Tanzania to expand both its domestic and regional markets, and it has the range to open new international destinations such as the Middle East and India at the lowest cost.  The C Series jet aircraft have the right attributes to develop these markets.”

Bombardier says this deal takes its recorded firm orders for the Q400 to 566 and the C Series to 360.

Amsterdam Debut for airBaltic CS300

Launch carrier airBaltic will debut the new Bombardier CS300 on its Riga to Amsterdam connection on December 14.

Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic said: “CS300 is a great aircraft, and a great improvement for our customers this Christmas.  We are delighted to announce that the historic first airBaltic commercial flight with Bombardier CS300 will link Riga with Amsterdam.”

The first CS300 for airBaltic at Bombardier's Mirabel plant. Bombardier
The first CS300 for airBaltic at Bombardier’s Mirabel plant. Bombardier

Flight BT619 departs Riga at 1625hrs arriving at Schiphol at 1750hrs.  The return service, BT620, departs the Dutch city at 1855hrs arriving back in Latvia at 2210hrs.

The Riga-based airline is expected to take delivery of its first of 20 examples in early December, with the 145-seat aircraft planned to make its UK debut at Gatwick on January 7.

airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss and Bombardier's Rob Dewar. Bombardier
airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss and Bombardier’s Rob Dewar. Bombardier


Global 7000 Takes to the Skies

Bombardier Business Aircraft successfully flew its new flagship business jet, the Global 7000, for the first time today. Flight test vehicle 1 (FTV1), C-GLBO (c/n 70001), took off from the manufacturer’s Toronto Downsview facility at 1025hrs and flew for 2hrs 27mins under the command of captain Ed Grabman, assisted by co-pilot Jeff Karnes and flight test engineer Jason Nickel.
During the maiden flight, the crew tested the basic system functionality of the jet and assessed its handling and flying qualities. The pilots conducted a gradual climb to 20,000ft and the aircraft reached a planned test speed of 240kts. All flight controls were exercised during the sortie and Bombardier reports that all systems and the aircraft performed as expected.
“The first flight is the culmination of an incredible amount of knowledge and experience from our dedicated employees, partners and suppliers,” said David Coleal, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “This is a very proud moment for Bombardier and confirms the Global 7000 aircraft program development is on schedule. It is the industry’s most innovative and uniquely designed business jet and the only aircraft on the market to offer four living spaces for unparalleled comfort and flexibility, creating an unforgettable experience for our customers. The Global 7000 business jet’s impressive capabilities promise to establish a whole new category for large business jets,” he added.

FTV1 gets airbourne for the first time.  Bombardier
FTV1 gets airbourne for the first time. Bombardier

The first flight signifies the start of the jets flight test program, ahead of its scheduled entry into service in the second half of 2018.
François Caza, Vice President, Product Development and Chief Engineer, Bombardier Product Development Engineering, said: “It was very exciting to see our Global 7000 aircraft take to the skies. Our world-class product development team, supported by our suppliers, followed our rigorous first flight readiness process, which included systems, structures and aerodynamics technical reviews, as well as the extensive use of test rigs and state-of-the-art simulation. The successful conclusion of this process clears the way for the start of our comprehensive flight test program leading to certification.”
Bombardier has designed the Global 7000 with a “next-generation transonic wing design” providing a steep approach capability and short field performance. The manufacturer says the jet will offer a 7,400nm (13,705km) range at M0.85 with eight passengers.