Bombardier’s CSeries receives environmental designation


Bombardier Inc.’s CSeries jetliner has become the first aircraft to receive a key environmental designation, just as the aviation industry moves towards implementing a cap on emissions for the first time.

EPD International, a Stockholm-based organization that studies the environmental impact of a variety of products, said Monday that the CS100 aircraft is the first in its industry to receive an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

An EPD doesn’t necessarily indicate that a product is environmentally superior to its competitors, but it does provide an independent analysis of its full environmental impact, from design and manufacturing to operation and end-of-life.

Having this data available, and the fact that Bombardier is the first in the industry to provide it, will make the aircraft more appealing to potential customers, said Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

“This gives the materials to make comparisons and really show that the CSeries stands apart,” Cromer said in an interview from Montreal. “It’s a verification of what we’ve been saying … This aircraft is game-changing in terms of its impact on the environment.”

The EPD found that the CSeries consumes as little as two litres of fuel per 100 kilometres per passenger. This means it will reduce emissions by up to 120,000 tonnes compared to similarly sized aircraft, comparable to taking 32,000 mid-sized cars off the road for a year.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the United Nations, is meeting in Montreal this week and next with the goal of ratifying a proposed environmental accord that aims to cap emissions from international flights at 2020 levels.

It’s a verification of what we’ve been saying … This aircraft is game-changing in terms of its impact on the environment.

Fred Cromer President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft

Cromer said airlines tend to focus primarily on cost when they’re choosing an aircraft, but cost and the environment are becoming increasingly intertwined. The proposed ICAO accord would create a carbon market where airlines could buy credits to offset emissions above 2020 levels.

“A huge percentage of (airlines) have an environmental agenda,” Cromer said.

The EPD comes at a time of renewed uncertainty over the CSeries’ future.

This month, Bombardier was forced to halve its delivery schedule for 2016 due to problems at its engine supplier, Pratt & Whitney. The company now expects to deliver just seven of the aircraft this year, down from an earlier forecast of 15, leading to an additional cash-flow deficit of US$150 million.

Since that announcement, Bombardier’s stock has fallen by more than 25 percent to close at $1.58 on Monday.

Cromer would not say when he expects production rates to return to expected levels, other than to say he believes the problems at Pratt are a “short-term issue.”

“It’s unfortunate. It’s never good to come out and say, ‘We said we’re going to deliver this many and now we’re going to deliver less than that,’ but I believe that Pratt is very strong and very focused on this and will correct the situation pretty quickly,” he said.

“I have all the confidence in the world that they will manage through this and we’ll get back on track.”