airBaltic (BT, Riga) Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Martin Gauss has confirmed that his airline will be the official launch operator for the AC!CS3. The Latvian carrier has thirteen of the type on order from Bombardier Aerospace (BBA, Montréal Trudeau) with options for an additional seven.

Speaking exclusively to ch-aviation on the sidelines of the ongoing Paris Air Show 2015 at Paris Le Bourget, Gauss said that among the first routes the CS300s will operate will be Riga-Zurich where they will more than likely compete with Swiss (LX, Zurich) and its C-Series fleet. In terms of competition and success, Gauss said he believes Air Baltic will likely capture that route's market given his airline's superior cost-structure.

Earlier this week, Swiss, which is the AC!CS1 launch operator, announced it had converted ten of its CS100 airframes to the larger CS300. Once in service, expected during the middle of 2016, the CS100s and CS300s will be operated by its Swiss Global Air Lines (LZ, Zurich) subsidiary.

Bombardier says it has booked orders and commitments for 603 of its C-Series aircraft, which include firm orders for 243.