Commercial Aircraft is considering a high-density version of its largest , the CS300, to meet growing demand from airlines for an aircraft with 160 seats.
The Canadian airframer is hoping to make a decision “in the next few months,” Rob Dewar, VP and general manager for the CSeries program, tells Aviation Week.
Dewar says the manufacturer has received requests from airlines for an aircraft that would offer cabin capacity for up to 160 seats. Such an aircraft would be particularly attractive to low-fare carriers, but it also places Bombardier in direct competition withand .
If Bombardier proceeds with a high-density CS300, it may have to introduce double overwing exits to allow for quick disembarkation in an emergency. Dewar says Bombardier is discussing the issue with authorities and has not made a decision on how to proceed.
If another overwing exit would have to be added on each side, the aircraft would incur a weight penalty over the baseline variant. According to Dewar, Bombardier is considering the double exit as an option, so customers of the baseline aircraft are not affected by the increased weight.
Other changes to the CS300 likely include a reduction in the number of lavatories. Bombardier also has presented its customers slim seats that will allow for a 28-inch seat pitch.
CEO Tony Fernandes recently expressed interest in a 160-seat CS300 and has indicated that the airline has a need for about 100 such aircraft. However, the carrier also is negotiating a large follow-on order with Airbus that could be announced next month at the Berlin Air Show.
Dewar says a decision about the high-density variant needs to be made “as soon as possible,” as the CS300 is nearing its detailed design phase. The CS300 is scheduled to enter service at the end of 2014, one year after the baseline CS100.
According to Dewar, all fuselage parts for the CS100 static test aircraft have now arrived in Montreal, and the wings for the static aircraft are expected in September. The wings for the first flight-test CS100 are due in early October.
Bombardier still aims to fly the aircraft before the year-end and has told its customers it is standing by the planned entry-into-service date.