ONE statistic that never fails to amaze is the claim by Boeing that one of its 737-model planes lands or takes off somewhere in the world every two seconds. Airbus, the American planemaker’s bitter European rival, makes a similar assertion about its A320 series (although fewer have been built). So ubiquitous are these mid-sized, short-haul aircraft that if you are sat on a modern plane with 120-200 seats you are all but guaranteed to be on an A320 or a 737. That duopoly is nice for Boeing and Airbus, which have collectively delivered 16,800 of the two models. But, in Europe at least, passengers are getting a taste of what else might be.
Last July, Swiss International Air Lines became the first carrier in the world to fly the Bombardier CSeries on scheduled commercial operations. It currently deploys five CS100s (pictured) from Zurich to two dozen European cities. The 125-seat jets are borrowed from parent company Lufthansa, Germany’s flag-carrier, which has ordered 30 CSeries and expects to receive another 12 of the planes this year. More recently, Air Baltic, the flag-carrier of Latvia, became the first to fly the CS300, a larger variant which it has configured with 145…Continue reading