The C Series Mystery Toronto Appearance
On August 20, Bombardier quietly announced, … “one of the C Series aircraft’s demonstration stops in September will be at its Bombardier Toronto site where many employees will see the aircraft fly for the first time.” The Bombardier Downsview plant assembles the turboprop Q400 that Porter Airlines flies.
Why would Bombardier want to show off on of the C Series jets, the plane that Bombardier is pinning its future on, to employees that assemble a propeller driven aircraft? After all, Bombardier could have had a much larger audience at the annual Canadian National Exhibition International Air Show (CIAS). And it’s not as if Bombardier hasn’t taken part in the CIAS before.
The Bombardier C Series No Show
On August 31, 2006, Porter Airlines was proud to announce that Bombardier’s Q400 would appear daily during the 2006 three-day CIAS to give spectators a look at the aircraft that Porter Airlines had ordered for its island airport operation.
In April 2013, Porter Airlines announced it had order Bombardier’s CS 100 aircraft as part of its expansion plan. There the parallel stops. Porter Airlines did not announce this year that Bombardier’s CS100 would appear daily during the 2015 three-day CIAS.
The CS 100 as Stealth?
It’s not as if Bombardier is air show shy. This June, Bombardier featured its CS 100 at the Paris air show. Somewhat troubling, the company came away with no new orders. It is curious then that a company that desperately needs CS100 sales would keep its star attraction away from the 1.4 million people who watch the spectacle annually.
Instead, the C Series plane will appear at the Downsview plant on September 10, a mere six days after the CIAS and away from public view. But others will see the demonstration: the invitees.
Other than the Downsview plant workers, Bombardier has sent out VIP invitation-only emails to a select mailing list. Interestingly, Toronto City councillors reportedly received the invite. Why them? There are at least two possibilities.
One may have something to do with the new-found support at city hall that the Porter expansion plans will get from Councillor Christin Carmichael Greb. Councillor Carmichael Greb is a former Bombardier business analyst who supports the island airport expansion. A successful C Series demo could add to any lobbying strength she could exert on undecided councillors on behalf of her former employer.
The other possibility is that the demo is a full-blown behind-the-scenes sales job on a majority of councillors who will vote on airport expansion either this year or early next year.
Although the invitation did not say which C Series model was coming (the CS100 or the CS300) there is a clue in the August 20 announcement. It says that the CS100 is currently going through noise testing to confirm that the aircraft is “ideal for city centre operations.”
While councillors are being given the VIP treatment and sold on the need for an expanded airport featuring the CS100, they may want to consider size. Does a large jet like the CS100 really does belong on the waterfront – Toronto’s premier recreational and cultural attraction?