efe-epaToulouse (France)

Europe's largest aeronautical group on Tuesday unveiled its two latest additions to its commercial aircraft family: The Bombardier-designed, single-aisle CS100 and CS300 models after Airbus' partnership agreement with the Canadian manufacturer became effective June 1.

The Airbus announcement took place during a press conference (and stunning low aircraft fly-past) at its Toulouse headquarters.

Bombardier's CS100, 110-seater, and its CS300, 130-seater, models have now been re-branded as the A220-100 and A220-300 respectively, after a joint venture agreement gave the European aeronautical giant a 50.01 percent majority stake into the Canadian aircraft builder.

Airbus head of sales, David Dufrenois, said he was convinced these small passenger aircraft "would be complementary to the A320 family," composed of the A319, A320, and A321best selling models.

Airbus top integration priority is now to increase its production rate, Dufrenois added. In 2017, Bombardier delivered 17 units and Airbus intends doubling that number by this year. 2019 production targets remain to be unveiled.

As from 2020, the C-Series aircraft assembly line will not rely only on the Bombardier plant in Mirabel (Canada) but also on the Airbus' facilities in Mobile (Alabama.)

Mobile, apart from manufacturing A320 family aircraft to serve US customers, will include a C-series final assembly line with an estimated annual output of 50-60 aircraft.

This will enable Airbus to avoid potential pitfalls in the looming trade barriers Washington may seek to impose on its Canadian partner's exports

Airbus foresees, within the next 20 years, a global demand of around 6,000 units and expects to corner about half that market.

However, Airbus warned, if it expects to achieve this target it must drastically reduce production costs, not only on its assembly lines but also when negotiating with suppliers and clients.

The CS-100 model (100-135 seater, 5,740 km range) comes with a 79.5 million USD price tag while the CS300 (130-160 seater, 6.110 km range) goes at 89.5 million USD.

These two newly-adopted Airbus aircraft will compete directly with two similar Embraer models after the Brazilian aircraft-maker reached a similar alliance with US manufacturer Boeing.

In brief, the Airbus-Bombardier agreement could well become the most transcendental commercial aircraft acquisition since the 1998 Boeing-McDonnell Douglas merger.