Aircraft maker Bombardier eyes Europe

Bombardier is targeting a major European aircraft order as the next step in the recovery of its C Series programme following a $5.6bn (€5bn) sale to Delta Air Lines that helped turn around the jetliner’s prospects.

The Canadian aircraft maker, which has a large plant in Belfast, expects a “strong second half of the year” for its marquee jet, which is more than two years late and at least $2bn over budget, said Fred Cromer, the company’s president of commercial aircraft.

The C Series has logged 127 orders this year, including 75 to Delta in April.

“We’re gaining the attention of airlines in every region,” Mr Cromer said in an interview at the Farnborough Air Show. “A European carrier, a large European carrier, would be good.”

The company will deliver 15 C Series planes this year and about double that number in 2017, Cromer said.

Swiss International will become the first operator of the aircraft when it flies a CS100 model to Paris tomorrow. The Lufthansa unit will receive 29 other C Series jets through 2018.

Bombardier has made progress in recent months to shore up finances and demonstrate that the C Series has a long-term future.

Besides receiving $1bn in investment in the programme from the province of Quebec, the Montreal-based company sealed the deal with Delta and landed firm orders from customers including Air Canada.

Bombardier is working with suppliers to bring down costs as it prepares to make more C Series planes.

Latvia’s Air Baltic, which is poised to become the first operator of the larger CS300 later this year, will consider C Series jets to replace its Bombardier Q400 turboprops, chief executive Martin Gauss told reporters in Farnborough.

The carrier’s fleet includes 12 Q400s, which will need to be replaced in about six years, Mr Gauss said.

Bombardier’s recent financial moves have provided the “flexibility to sit back, reassess the market, push the aircraft’s superior economics and passenger comforts, and attempt to improve the economics in future orders,” said Fadi Chamoun, a BMO Capital Markets analyst.

In a C Series jet shown in Farnborough, Bombardier used visual displays to highlight the plane’s larger windows compared with an Airbus A320neo, and a bigger cabin than that of Brazil’s Embraer SA E2.

The Brazilian manufacturer, Bombardier’s biggest competitor in regional jets, has threatened to file a complaint with the World Trade Organisation because of the investment by the Quebec government, saying the cash injection is enabling its Canadian rival to undercut market pricing.


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