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.
View from row 15…..
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’):
5-across cabin seating features comfortable seats with plenty of knee/leg room even for people a bit over 6 feet/185cm tall. Body support was good, and the seat upholstery had a nice look and quality feel.
Take note of the shortened arm-rest for the window seat. This stub might lead to a comfort issue.
Generous overhead baggage storage…..will alleviate risks of gate-checking luggage.
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.
A typical Economy Class seat provides ample leg room.
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.
What a fantastic place to work! Photo Courtesy of Vielfliegertreff’s (VFT) founding member ‘RCS’
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.
Got your attention didn’t it….
Beginning June 10, Austrian will be deploying their 777s to fly between Vienna and Paris to meet the demand as a result of the UEFA Euro2016 Championship which is set to run between June 10 and July 10. Specifically, the 777 will operate the morning flights between Vienna and Paris in they days leading up to the Austrian National Team’s matches against Portugal and Iceland. The Portugal match is June 18, while Iceland is on the 22nd, so expect the 777s to be especially active a day or 2 before and after these matches.
In addition to increasing capacity to Paris, OS will also add 15 additional flights between VIE and CDG using their A320 and A321 aircraft.
Austrian will also deploy more capacity to Lyon as it will replace their Dash 8 and Fokker aircraft with narrow body Airbus aircraft to help meet the additional demand of fans of other countries traveling via Vienna to go root for their teams. Austrian plans to operate the Airbus aircraft on at least 10 flights during the tournament between Vienna and Lyon.
In all, Austrian will be adding 5,000 more seats worth of capacity during the tournament.
To kick off the Paris Airshow, Bombardier and SWISS have announced a minor modification to SWISS’ existing CS100 order.
Originally, SWISS had ordered 30 CS100 aircraft that should begin entering service during 2016. However, the order has been amended to now include Bombardier’s CS300 as well.
SWISS’ CS100….photo courtesy of Bombardier
Specifically, the ‘middle 10’ of the existing 30 plane order will be converted from CS100 to CS300 aircraft. The expectation is that the CS300 will debut in the LX fleet sometime in 2017. This move allows SWISS more flexibility with route planning and capacity for their European routes since the CS100 is designed for approximately 100 passengers while the CS300 can be configured for up to 150 passengers.
Adding the CS300 has little impact on maintenance and training since the CS100 and CS300 share about 95% of the same pieces and parts. They also carry the same type rating so pilots do not need additional training to fly the -300.
SWISS also indicated that the aircraft will carry a 2-3 cabin configuration (2 seats on the left, 3 on the right) as well as the typical ‘European’ business class ‘cabin’. For those of you unfamiliar with ‘European Business Class’, its simply the economy cabin seat but without a passenger sitting next to you. For the 2-3 config, passengers sitting on the ‘2 seat side’ will not have someone sitting next to them, while the ‘3 seat side’ will have an empty middle seat.
Earlier today on Twitter, Bombardier released what I believe is one of their first ‘candid’ shots of the CS100 dressed in LX livery. The photo is part of the media run up to the Paris Air Show that is set to kick off on June 15.
SWISS’ First CS100……photo courtesy of Bombardier.
In addition to the CS100, Bombardier will be displaying the CS300 as well and plans to announce new performance metrics for both models in an attempt to fuel additional interest from airline customers.
The SWISS Cs100 will be on static display at Paris and will fly to Zurich afterwards to spend a few days visiting its new owner.
SWISS will be the first operator of the CS100 and plans call for the aircraft to enter service during the first half of 2016.