Swiss International Airlines Launches Inaugural Service With Bombardier CS100
Special guest on-scene report from FlyerTalk’s ClaudiSTR with KK Flyer
On July 15, Swiss International celebrated the start of service of the new Bombardier CS100 aircraft with an inaugural flight from Zurich (ZRH) to Paris (CDG).
Swiss is the launch customer for the CS100/300, the newest and largest members of the Bombardier aircraft family. Depending on specific configuration, the CS100 accommodates from about 108 passengers (8 business + 100 coach) up to 125 passengers in a 5-across arrangement. A larger version of the airframe, the CS300, seats typically about 130 (12 J + 118 Y) up to a maximum of 160.
In terms of passenger capacity and cabin diameter, the Bombardier C-Series jets fit nicely into the space between the Embraer E-Jet family and the larger Boeing 737– Airbus A320– series, and are a nice replacement for the retiring BAe 146s (Avro RJ100). Based on my first experience, I would like to especially thank the Canadian taxpayers for rescuing from development delays what seems to be a technically wonderful airplane. The C-Series should turn out to be an excellent addition to regional/short-haul fleets around the world in the 100- to 130-seat market.
I was fortunate to be among the passengers onboard for the July 15 inaugural flight of HB-JBA, “Kanton Zürich,” the first CS100 operated by SWISS, and indeed the first CS100–flight in revenue service.
The on-board experience…..(Photos Courtesy of Vielfliegertreff’s (VFT) founding member ‘RCS’):
Large and well-designed overhead bins accommodate standard carry-on baggage, and when closed contribute to a spacious feel in the cabin. Combined with large windows, the cabin leaves a large, bright, and airy impression.
I was sitting in Row 15 (over the wing, which I found to have a bit more noise and vibration than I expected. Further forward and aft, the cabin was much quieter.
The lavatory to my surprise was large and roomy considering the size of the aircraft. It reminds you of the Lavs you would find aboard widebody aircraft.
Unfortunately, since the flight destination was Paris/CDG, the normally festive mood was somewhat subdued out of respect for the victims of the terror attack in Nice the night before. For example, the usual celebratory water cannon salute for a new aircraft arrival in Paris did not happen, and the pre-flight celebrations in Zurich were low-key, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the gate. But despite the muted background, there was genuine excitement for the new airplane.
Frequent flyers, airline managers, people from the airline industry, and as special guest Miss Switzerland 2013 gathered to celebrate the first revenue flight of C100. Amongst the passengers also was Thomas Lee, who completed his 5th inaugural flight of a new airplane after joining the 747-100, A380, 787 and A350 inaugural flights.
In addition to the impressive passenger cabin, the ‘office’ of the aircraft is even more impressive. The pilots flying the CS100 will enjoy a full ‘Glass Cockpit’ with the most advanced technology currently available.
Overall, I am excited about the Bombardier C-series aircraft, and despite a bit of mid-cabin noise and vibration, I am pleased with the passenger experience. I look forward to future SWISS flights featuring the CS100, and I think passengers flying short-haul routes served by SWISS and the CS100 are in for a pleasant flight experience.