Lufthansa pleased with C Series progress
Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) said the first 30 days of Bombardier CS100 commercial operations have gone according to plan, despite minor glitches. The Star Alliance member is the first operator of the C Series.
SWISS launched the first commercial CS100 scheduled flight from Zurich to Paris Charles de Gaulle July 15. A second CS100 began scheduled operations Aug. 18, also from Zurich to Paris Charles de Gaulle.
SWISS spokesperson Karin Mueller toldATW: “We are satisfied with the first 30 days since starting entry-into-service [EIS]; of course, there is potential for optimization.”
Some of the glitches were “minor” technical and operational uncertainties – for example, de-icing, air conditioning and ground handling. On July 19, a SWISS CS100, en route from Switzerland to the U.K. had to return after experiencing a problem with its air conditioning system. “These glitches had been in an area what you can expect during EIS. There have been never signs that the entire fleet introduction is in danger.”
Bombardier VP-C Series Rob Dewar told ATW July 6 that about 20 Bombardier specialists would be based in Zurich to support SWISS initially. “It is critical for us to have a successful EIS,” he said.
Mueller said that support from Bombardier, as well as daily experience in operating the new aircraft, have reduced initial uncertainty “significantly.” She said no flights were canceled during the first 30 days of CSeries operations, even though the aircraft had to remain on ground once for technical reasons. SWISS said the CS100 operates on a 99% dispatch reliability.
After the first four weeks, the first CS100 aircraft (HB-JBA) has operated at a higher reliability rate compared to other new-generation aircraft types, according to Mueller. “We are satisfied with the values, since they meet the expectations of a new aircraft.”
The target is to operate the CS100 fleet with 99% dispatch reliability year round, according to Mueller. “To get reliable information [of CSeries operations], there must be a minimum of five CS100s operating scheduled services for at least three months,” Mueller explained.
Inside the aircraft, minor adjustments had been necessary, like loudspeaker noise or the installation of a cabin class divider. Passenger feedback has been so far mostly positive, she said.
SWISS expects delivery of a third CS100 (HB-JBC) within the next few weeks, but Mueller declined to give details for further CS100 deliveries. “We want to be flexible [on further deliveries] and to bring in first our experiences from the scheduled operations,” she said. This needs more time, which is why further deliveries had been moved back slightly. “But for a new type of aircraft, this is not unusual,” Mueller added.
On July 15, SWISS CEO Thomas Kluehr told ATW the carrier will take delivery of nine CS100s in 2016. It will take delivery of one aircraft per month in July, August and September. After that, deliveries will increase to two aircraft per month.
SWISS originally ordered 20 CS100s and 10 CS300s, plus 30 options. On June 5, the carrier announced it would convert five of 20 CS100 orders into CS300s.