Artist's concept of a Bombardier CS100 in Delta's livery. Image courtesy of Delta.
In September of this year, the commercial aerospace industry changed forever. By accepting a recommendation from Boeing, the United States Department of Commerce has decided to implement a whopping 300% tariff on orders of the Bombardier CSeries aircraft destined for Delta Air Lines.
As you may know, the Bombardier CSeries is an innovative family of aircraft that highlights the passenger experience, enabling passengers to enjoy a much comfortable experience on board. The CS100 and CS300 are a new family of innovative aircraft designed to serve the 100-160 seat market. The CS100 (officially known as the BD-500-1A10) seats 108 to 133 passengers, while the larger CS300 (officially known as the BD-500-1A11) seats 130-160 passengers.
It promises to deliver a unique and refreshing experience for passengers. Although it is a single-aisle jet, technological and aesthetically improvements allow the interior to feel like a wide-body jet. Notable improvements to the passenger experience include larger windows, higher-capacity pivoting overhead bins, a 5-abreast layout (with only one middle seat per row), and 18.5 inches of seat width throughout economy.
It is obvious that Bombardier's CSeries is destined to be a game-changer in the commercial aviation industry. However, aerospace giant Boeing thinks otherwise. By filing a lawsuit to Bombardier, Boeing claims that the sale of 75 CS100 jets to Delta Air Lines was "below market price," and called for the U.S. government to impose heavy taxes and tariffs on U.S. airlines that are buying the CSeries. Boeing is abusing American trade laws in this regard, and it is making a false claim that the CSeries is hurting competition. In reality, Boeing's last jet in the 100-130 seat market was the McDonnell-Douglas-designed 717. Boeing's smallest jet currently being made is the 737 MAX 7, designed to serve markets of roughly 140 seats, well beyond the capacity of the CSeries.
Honestly, I think Boeing's proposal is just a bunch of BS, because as of right now, they aren't making any jetliner that competes in the 100-seat market, strictly speaking. The 737-700 is too large, and the last jetliner that Boeing made in this market was the 110-seat Boeing 717-200 (MD-95), which has been out of production since 2006. Early next year, a decision will be made regarding whether the Government will proceed with the 300% Tariff.
Airbus took control of the CSeries program a couple of months ago, when the trade dispute was revealed. They bought a 50.01% share in the CSeries program, and committed to building it in the United States, at Airbus' manufacturing plant in Mobile, Alabama. By doing this, they hope to avert the tariffs, as it does not make sense for the Government to put a tariff on something that is made in the United States. Furthermore, more of the CS100 is manufactured in the United States than the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which contains parts from all over the world. Now, do you see where I'm going with this?
As reported by Reuters, it now seems likely that those 75 CS100 orders won't go to waste. Delta's joint venture partner Aeromexico might be willing to take up some of these CSeries jets, should the United States Government move forward with the proposed tariff. As Aeromexico's largest shareholder with a 49% stake, Delta will sell the jets to Mexico City-based Aeromexico, where there wouldn't be any imposed tariffs on the CSeries. Because Aeromexico and Delta are still part of a joint venture, the planes will "remain in the Delta family," according to a source familiar with the matter.
Another source familiar with the matter reported that Aeromexico is currently in a phase of fleet renewal. The currently operate both narrow-body and wide-body jets from Boeing and Brazil-based Embraer. Last week, Aeromexico received a presentation from Bombardier about the CSeries, and will receive another one soon from Embraer regarding the E-jet E2 aircraft family.
It is certainly disappointing for Delta loyalists, like me, to see that the CSeries might not fly after all in Delta's livery, should the U.S. Department of Commerce choose to side with Boeing and go ahead with the 300% tariff increase. However, there is still a chance for us. I've created a petition here opposing Boeing's proposed tariff against Bombardier. You can help by signing and spreading awareness about the situation.
What do you make of Aeromexico wanting to take some of Delta's CS100 aircraft?