There are two things making the Bombardier CSeries jets marginally of interest in Australia.
One is more orders, although a Russian leasing company signing a sheet of paper this week agreeing to maybe buy 42 of the larger CSeries 300 jets (single aisle up to 149 passengers) may not seem to cynics to be gold plated just yet.
And the other is the seemingly glacial slow motion Embraer is exhibiting in getting its recently confirmed plans for a re-engined and generally re-worked series of E-jets up to the starting line. Embraer seems to think everyone will wait until 2018 or later for it to have a jet they can buy. It could be very wrong.
Make no mistake. Both are highly attractive projects. Both use versions of the new technology Pratt & Whitney geared turbo-fan engine on which so many hopes ride for big improvements in reduced fuel burn and emissions .
But only one is actually being built at the moment, which is the Canadian company Bombardier’s CSeries, and the first to fly in its test and certification program is report to be rapidly coming together for a its debut flight which some observers say could take place as early as June.
The CSeries 100 or smaller of the type is a natural replacement option for Embraer E-jets, which have been in service with Virgin Blue and then Virgin Australia for seven years. The CSeries 300 is similarly scaled to replace, with a lighter, more economical airframe and engine combination, the Boeing 737-700.
But the CSeries also needs to get convincing sales before cautious airlines even think about it as an acquisition. Bombardier’s reputation in this country is built on its turbo-props, the largest of which, the 76 seat Q400, is widely used by Qantaslink.
Ultimately any CSeries success here will come down to operational savings. If Bombardier can convince the Australian carriers that every sector it flies will save them say $1000, multiplied by four, six or even eight sectors a day, compared to various 717s, 737s and E-jets, success could come easily.