PLANT

CRJ1000 aircraft even more fuel efficient

Bombardier reports CRJ1000 is more fuel-efficient than first estimated, work is underway on its Belfast wing plant and it is anticipating big orders from China for the CSeries.


MONTREAL: Bombardier Inc. is forecasting industry demand for aircraft will take off over the next 20 years, and it’s well on the way to take advantage of market opportunities, and the Montreal-based aerospace firm reports new developments in fuel-efficient aircraft, business planes and commercial aircraft.

Bombardier’s latest 20-year forecast expects the industry will deliver 24,000 business aircraft, down from the 26,000 forecast last year.

About 10,000 business planes valued at US$260 billion should be shipped until 2020, with another 14,000 worth US$366 billion delivered over the following decade.

The manufacturer also said the industry as a whole will deliver 13,100 commercial aircraft in the 20- to-149-seat categories between this year and 2030. That’s up 300 aircraft from the previous forecast, with the total value pegged at US$639 billion.

On the fuel-efficiency front, its 100-seat CRJ1000 NextGen aircraft is achieving 4% better fuel consumption and 6% greater range than first estimated, with operators reporting a 99.9% schedule completion rate and 99.4% dispatch reliability

Bombardier said the additional savings in fuel burn results in average annual savings of approximately US$220,000 per aircraft and a 4% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equivalent to an average reduction of nearly 700 tons of greenhouse gases per aircraft each year.

The Q400 turboprop is on target to deliver up to 1.5% in additional fuel burn improvements, along with a 2% improvement already achieved during high-speed cruise.

As it prepares to build its CSeries aircraft, Bombardier is installing semi-automated jigs at its new wing facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland to support assembly of the aircraft’s advanced composite wings.

The jigs, to be used to assemble the primary structural components of the composite wing torque box, are being installed in the second phase of the new, state-of-the-art 600,000 square-foot manufacturing and assembly facility. The first phase of the new factory, which will accommodate the fabrication of the composite components, is complete.

Bombardier’s Belfast operation is responsible for the design, manufacture and integration of the advanced composite wings for the CS100 and CS300 jets, including all flight control surfaces and high-lift systems. The primary structural components of the wings will be produced using a resin transfer infusion (RTI) process that has been developed by Bombardier Aerospace.

Last summer, Bombardier successfully completed the ultimate load test on the CSeries aircraft composite pre-production wing, replicating 150% of the most severe forces the wing is ever likely to experience in service.

Bombardier expects to receive CSeries orders in the coming year, but perhaps not from China. It said Chinese airlines are growing so fast that they want new airplanes quickly and may not wait for the company’s development plans.

“Our production of the CSeries doesn’t kick into gear until 2014-15, (so) we’re more likely a year or two away for them to really begin ordering our product,” said Gary Scott, Bombardier’s commercial aircraft president.

Still, he said Bombardier’s recent signing of a framework agreement with China’s Comac bodes well for receiving a substantial number of orders in the long-term.

Scott conceded that China would have to place orders soon to receive an early production slot. The smaller version of the 110- to-149-seat plane is set for delivery at the end of 2013, with the larger version coming a year later.

Bombardier has received 90 CSeries orders, but none in the last 15 months. Expectations are high that some will be announced by June’s Paris Airshow.