Last updated: 01:21 PM ET, Fri May 27 2016

Bombardier Announces Game-Changing Order from Delta

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | April 28, 2016

Bombardier Announces Game-Changing Order from Delta

Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Bombardier’s long-rumored deal with Delta Air Lines is now official. This morning the Canadian plane maker announced that Delta has placed 75 firm orders for CS100 jets, with an option to buy 50 more. 

This is good news for Delta, which will soon have a steady stream of state-of-the-art aircraft entering its short-haul and mid-range fleet. (It’s also good news for Delta domestic passengers, who have been flying on the Atlanta-based airline’s cramped and aging McDonnell Douglas MD-88s for some time now). 

READ MORE: Who's In Third? Bombardier's Struggles Leave Door Open For Embraer

The deal is much more significant for Bombardier than it is for Delta. The manufacturer has been struggling to find customers for its new C Series jets. Many carriers have been opting for its competitors. Embraer scored a number of new orders last year and both Airbus and Boeing have options that compete with the C Series, which fits into the 100 to 150-seat market. 

Delta CEO Ed Bastian explained that the Bombardier jet represent a major upgrade to Delta’s short-haul fleet. 
“These new aircraft are a solid investment, allowing us to take advantage of superior operating economics, network flexibility and best-in-class fuel performance.” 

According to Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare, the Delta deal is worth more than the 75 firm orders (though it will certainly help the struggling plane-maker’s bottom line). Dealing with a major carrier like Delta will help with the credibility and image of the C Series. “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. The addition of Delta to our marquee C Series customer list gives us tremendous momentum as we approach entry-into-service this summer."

READ MORE: Air Canada Debuts Next-Generation Bombardier Q400 Aircraft

The first CS100 will take to the skies July 15 when Swiss International Airlines operates the first commercial flight using the new jet. 

So what do Delta customers have to look forward to? Fans of the MD-88 will be disappointed that the classic aircraft will be phased out of Delta’s regular rotation. However, the CS100 is one of the most tech-forward (and attractive) planes in the 100-150 seat marketplace. The president of Bombardier’s commercial wing, Fred Cromer, has touted it as a “game-changing aircraft.” 

The C Series probably does deserve some of this hype. It features attractive ambient lighting, in-flight Wi-Fi capabilities, a state-of-the-art seat back IFE system and other high-tech features. It also scores points for practicality. It has the largest windows in its class and its overhead bins are designed to have a higher capacity than the competition. Best of all, from a  flier’s perspective, the CS100 has the widest seats of any single-aisle, narrow-body aircraft on the commercial market. 

All these extra features might actually be one of the causes of the slow flow of orders. Some airlines apparently considered a plane so packed with features and comfort overkill for their short-haul fleets. 

Overall, however, everyone comes away a winner from the Delta-Bombardier deal. This is especially true for Delta’s passengers, who should be very happy with the level of comfort and the features offered by the CS100. 


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