Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) plans to replace its five remaining Airbus A319s with Bombardier CS100/300 aircraft in the spring of 2018, SWISS CSeries fleet chief Peter Koch told journalists in Zurich at the CS100 launch to London City Airport.

The A319 replacement is possible with the existing order of 10 CS100s and 20 CS300s.

ATW understands SWISS offers 145 seats on its CS300s compared to the 138-seat A319. The next larger aircraft type is the A320, with a 168-180 seat configuration.

SWISS’s Airbus narrowbody family fleet also includes 21 A320-200s and nine A321-100/200s.

SWISS, the CS100 launch customer, began scheduled services from Zurich to Paris Charles de Gaulle in July 2016. The Star Alliance member became the first airline to operate both CSeries CS100/300 variants.

SWISS currently operates eight CS100s and two CS300s.

The national airline of Switzerland is acquiring the CSeries primarily to replace Avro RJ100s, which is 25% cheaper to fly and has a high operational reliability rate, Koch said.

The biggest challenge for SWISS is the CSeries delivery delays, which force the carrier to reschedule operations. SWISS trains 10 pilots per month to CSeries standards; so far 210 pilots have been trained on the type.

SWISS originally planned to receive a new aircraft every month. Koch said the hopes to accept the next aircraft in August and delivery delays are improving.

To fill the delivery delay gap, SWISS has wet leased one Bombardier CRJ900 from Slovenia-based Adria Airways during the summer period.

“For us, [the CSeries] is the perfect aircraft,” Koch said.

Kurt Hofmann,