Corporate CSeries Confirmed

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The Montreal Gazette is reporting that Bombardier has confirmed it will build a corporate version of the CSeries airliner it currently has under development. The Gazette says Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft, made the commitment during a meeting of aviation analysts at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando last week. "Absolutely, there will be a corporate variant of the CSeries," he said. Ridolfi is also reported to have said that an updated version or a replacement for the top-of-the-line Global Express is also a possibility to maintain Bombardier's lead position in the intercontinental category. Gulfstream recently rolled out the G650, a long-legged luxury aircraft it says will be the fastest civilian aircraft in the air. Meanwhile, the airline version of the CSeries is getting some attention from the current market leaders in that segment, no doubt because forecasts indicate a need for 29,000 single-aisle airliners over the next 20 years.

Drew Magill, Boeing's director of marketing for commercial airplanes, told the Gazette that Boeing would vigorously defend market share for the ubiquitous 737, for which the CSeries will be a competitor. Current versions of the 737 seat up to 180 people while the CSeries tops out at 145 and Magill noted that Boeing's 737-600, essentially a shrunk version of the 700 and 800 series, with 125 seats, attracted only 59 orders. Bombardier countered that shrinking the larger design resulted in a less efficient small airliner and the CSeries will be at least 20 percent more efficient than the 600. Analysts also say that Boeing and Airbus are stretched because of development programs for larger aircraft and won't be able to develop replacements for the smaller workhorses until the end of the next decade, giving Bombardier a leg up in that market.