Swiss Airlines Chief Sees Growth for Bombardier CSeries

Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Swiss Airlines may use Bombardier Inc.’s new CSeries narrow-body airliner to eventually replace some of its Airbus SAS jets as the Canadian manufacturer prepares for the model’s first flight.

A stretched version of the CSeries could be a suitable replacement for the Airbus A320, Swiss Chief Executive Officer Harry Hohmeister said in an interview in Cape Town. Still, the the Montreal-based manufacturer should first focus on development of the two models now being created, he said.

Swiss will operate at least 10 CS100s, the smaller version due to fly for the first time this month, and will also take the larger CS300 as part of its 30-jet order. The exact mix remains to be decided, Hohmeister said.

Swiss is buying the new planes to cut its operating costs, with the CSeries promising to burn 25 percent to 30 percent less fuel and offer cheaper maintenance than the Avro jets the airline now flies on short routes, Hohmeister said. The airline also is buying six Boeing Co. 777s to replace less fuel efficient Airbus jets used in long-range travel.

Hohmeister said he’s satisfied with the progress that Bombardier is making with the new plane and expects no further delays beyond those already incurred. The CS100, seating about 120, should enter service at Swiss in 2015, while the CS300 would follow about a year later, he said at the International Air Transport Association annual general meeting.

Swiss will use the CSeries to serve some airports that are difficult to fly into such as London City, although only after more routine operations are proven, he said.

The first 777s are due starting in 2016, with a decision on how to replace the rest of the Airbus A340 long-haul fleet not due for some time, with the Airbus A350 also a candidate, he said.

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