Building Aircraft Innovation with Advanced Materials


Since the early days of powered flight, aircraft have been built using traditional materials, mainly aluminum. Today the C Series aircraft are moving the industry forward by leveraging over 40 years of experience in advanced materials in a quest to reduce weight, optimize the cost of ownership and lessen environmental impact.

Built from a clean sheet 21st-century design, the C Series is the only single-aisle aircraft with a composite wing and aluminum-lithium fuselage.

Integrating innovation through Advanced Materials The C Series aircraft wing, center wing box, wing-to-body fairing, empennage, aft fuselage, and nacelles are all made of composite materials allowing for over 2,000 lb. of weight savings.

Composites not only make the aircraft lighter, they also reduce the number of components in the assembly and allow for greater simplicity and lower costs.

The C Series fuselage is manufactured using Third Generation Aluminum-Lithium, one of the most advanced aluminum alloys on the market. It is a lot lighter, about 40% more fatigue resistant and 250% more resistant to corrosion than traditional aluminum.

Innovation That Flies Straight to the Bottom Line

As a clean sheet design, the C Series jet is free from the constraints of the past. By using advanced materials, airlines can reduce costs of operation while increasing operational efficiency:

  • Reduced Maintenance The use of advanced materials increases maintenance intervals and reduces in-service findings, allowing the C Series aircraft to offer a 25% Direct Maintenance Cost (DMC) reduction over its competitors.
  • Lower Fuel Burn Using lighter aluminum-lithium alloy and advanced composites improve fuel efficiency and help the C Series aircraft achieve a fuel burn as low as 2L per pax/100 KM. 
  • More time in the air Employing materials that are less sensitive to corrosion and fatigue means C Series aircrafts have longer intervals between corrosion and structural inspections. This best-in-class maintenance program will allow for up to 30 more revenue flying days over a 12-year period*.

*The C Series aircraft has the best-in-class maintenance program with 850 FH and 8,500 FH for A-check and C-check respectively as well as a 12-year interval for heavy structural checks. (FH): Flight Hour

About the Contributor

This article was sponsored and prepared by Bombardier. Bombardier designs, manufactures and supports innovative aviation products and services and provides solutions and training for the business, commercial and other specialized aircraft markets