Paul Eden, a regular contributor to the APEX editor’s blog, managed to pin down Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Mike Arcamone (pictured) for a one-on-one at the recent Farnborough air show, where the carrier announced new orders for the CSeries and other aircraft within its portfolio. See his brief chat with Aramone below.
What is your primary goal as the recently appointed president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft?
Launching the CSeries is my short, medium and long-term goal. Long term is 2014, when we bring the CS300 into service. Then back up to the end of 2013, when we bring the CS100 to service. The objective is to fly the plane into the new year. My primary focus is on bringing it to service, like we said we would, and on time.
My second focus is developing the CRJ and Q400 as global products, supported by a global organisation. We’ve opened five sales offices – Sydney, Dubai, Munich, Shanghi, Singapore and another to announce in the US, all in the last two and a half months. And we’re not done yet.
I want a global sales presence, supported by a full service organisation, structured finance and regional market analysis, because when I look at my growth curve, it’s outside Europe and North America. And I want to get all three products into low-cost carriers as well.
Can new inflight technology extend the life of the CRJ in any way? Is CSeries technology cascading into the existing product range?
New technologies don’t extend the life of existing products [in the strictest sense], but we can make improvements to enhance the passenger experience. We’ve placed the CRJ900 in China and we’re certifying the CRJ700, 900 and 1000 for Russia, as is. It’s really about placing the types into new markets, then maybe reviewing those markets in a few years.
The CSeries bins could go into CRJ if the airframe allows, for example, but our CRJ customers don’t want the CSeries video technology; the slim seats could go to the Q400 and CRJ.
Bombardier has an impressive CSeries cabin mock-up, representing a possible customer configuration. What are the key features?
From the cockpit, all the way back, we’re providing ‘the experience’. When passengers walk in, they’ll immediately notice the lighting, the seats and the luggage space. In the slimline seats, set at 29-inch pitch, with the seat in front fully reclined, the vertical shaping of the sculpted back and its curvature means it makes minimal difference to the legroom of the passenger behind.
The wide aisle and easy-access bins really make an impression. “We had a CEO step out of the mock-up, collect his own luggage and then walk back through. Then he folded it and put it in the locker. ‘Wow!’ Then he sent his staff to try.
And what’s the news from the cockpit? Mike Arcamone defers to CSeries Liaison Pilot Edward Long
There’s a health management system that has the user-defined capability to broadcast around 5,000 pieces of information through a dedicated channel, from at least 50,000 data points.
The bespoke avionics maximise ‘eyes-out’ and awareness. The head-up displays use common symbology with the primary flight display, while radio tuning is in the glare shield. Systems have generally been either simplified or automated.
How confident are you that you can compete with 737 MAX, A320neo and a re-engined E-Jet?
We’re very comfortable that we can take on the competition in our segment. We’re optimising the CSeries so, for example, it will be able to fly into London-City from the outset, steep-approach certified and with very low noise. It will be able to operate into city airports later than its rivals, because of this low noise signature, offering great flexibility to operators.
This combines with our appeal to low-cost carriers and the fact that we’re in a different market segment to Airbus and Boeing, with an all-new product. They think we’re competing with some of their programmes, but our business proposition is based on a new airframe.