United vs CSeries: Explanation from an Airline Pilot
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Here's a letter I received from a pilot of a well known airline about the CSeries and its pending United orders. Permission granted, here is what she/he had to say:
Hello Sylvain:I am writing with regards to your Bombardier C Series program updates. I'm a 767 pilot with ... I hold shares in Bombardier and have been following the C Series program closely as not only a shareholder but as a proud Canadian. I truly believe this aircraft is what will catapult the Canadian Aerospace industry and make up lost ground from the cancellation of the Avro Jetliner and Avro Arrow programs. The product itself has the technology and scalability to break up the Boeing and Airbus duopoly on larger jet aircraft.
Your program updates are a fantastic read. Your enthusiasm for this aircraft shines through. As you know the recent United order for 40 737-700 aircraft was perceived as a blow to the C-Series program. This was largely misreported in the media and in fact United themselves stated that they continue to evaluate the C Series and E2 aircraft.
Perhaps you know this however what is very important to a United C Series order is the scope language contained in the recently ratified United pilot collective agreement. Under the new agreement, if United wanted to increase their 76 seat aircraft fleet at the regionals from the current restriction they must add NSNB (new small narrowbody aircraft) on a 1:1.25 ratio to the mainline fleet. The contract goes on further to define NSNB aircraft as the Bombardier C Series or EMJ 190/195.
We are witnessing the slow death of 50 seat aircraft in the United States. United would most likely want to take advantage of the recently agreed upon scope relief at some point in the near future and in order to do so they must order the C Series or EMJ 190/195. How this very important condition was missed by industry journalists and professional industry analysts baffles me as the information is publicly available. The 737 order was independent of any C Series order.
There are two scenarios where the C Series does not have a future at United. The first being if United was to order Embraer 190/195 aircraft or if United decides they do not want to take advantage of the permitted increase in 76 seat aircraft at the regionals. Given this scope relief was one of the major items to come out of the latest agreement, I cannot foresee why United would choose to negotiate scope relief into a contract unless they planned to take advantage of it.
The scope language in the United agreement, as mentioned, has always been a part of the original United/Continental JCBA and the United Pilots maintained the same language in the recent extension ratification. In other words there is no new language in the recent extension pertaining to scope (except a slight modification to the NSNB definition which states the E190/E195 also includes the E2). It is my understanding that United wanted to modify the scope language in this recent extension however the pilots did not want to have this changed and therefore United must order NSNB aircraftin order to gain relief from current 76 seat "scope choke". Good news for the C Series.
Please continue to keep the updates coming. I hope we see some large aircraft orders soonRegards** end of letter