Air­bus deal in­creas­ing con­fi­dence in C Se­ries

The Hamilton Spectator - - COMMENT - ROSS MAROWITS MON­TREAL —

Bom­bardier Inc. said its deal with Air­bus has yet to ig­nite new sales dis­cus­sions, but ex­ist­ing ef­forts have yielded re­sults as the man­u­fac­turer an­nounced a po­ten­tial order with Africa’s largest air­line.

“The con­fi­dence of cer­tain cus­tomers has in­creased and the pace of some of those dis­cus­sions has in­creased some­what,” Colin Bole, Bom­bardier se­nior vice-pres­i­dent com­mer­cial aero­space, said Tues­day.

Bom­bardier has signed its sec­ond po­ten­tial C Se­ries order in less than two weeks af­ter Egyp­tAir Hold­ing Co. an­nounced plans to pur­chase up to 24 of the plane’s larger ver­sion.

The agree­ment an­nounced at the Dubai Air­show in­cludes 12 CS300 air­craft with pur­chase rights for an ad­di­tional 12 air­craft.

Bom­bardier said that based on the list price of the CS300, a firm order for 12 air­craft would be val­ued at about US$1.4 bil­lion. That would dou­ble if the air­line ex­er­cises the 12 pur­chase rights. How­ever, air­lines typ­i­cally re­ceive large dis­counts.

“It would be dif­fi­cult to wish for a bet­ter car­rier to estab­lish our pres­ence in the re­gion,” Bole said in a con­fer­ence call with re­porters from Dubai.

“It’s a great tem­plate and it is some­thing that will fol­lowed ex­tremely closely by the other car­ri­ers in the re­gions and the sub re­gions in the area.”

The C Se­ries has also been or­dered by Iraqi Air­ways, Saudi Gulf and Gulf Air.

The na­tional air­line of Egypt told re­porters in Dubai that while it has been study­ing the C Se­ries for a long time, Air­bus’ in­volve­ment makes them feel bet­ter about the pro­gram, Bom­bardier com­mer­cial air­craft pres­i­dent Fred Cromer added on the con­fer­ence call.

Egyp­tAir chair and CEO Safwat Musal­lam said the planes will help the air­line to mod­ern­ize its fleet.

“We se­lected the C Se­ries air­craft be­cause its ex­cel­lent range will al­low us to best serve do­mes­tic and re­gional des­ti­na­tions, in­clud­ing neigh­bour­ing Arab ci­ties, the Mid­dle East as well as sev­eral Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions,” he stated in a news re­lease.

An­a­lyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group says Air­bus’ in­volve­ment as­suage fears that the C Se­ries will be an “or­phan” air­plane be­cause it will have the sup­port of the Euro­pean aero­space gi­ant.

“I would ar­gue that the Air­bus ef­fect will be fairly pro­found,” he said in an in­ter­view.

Aboulafia said the C Se­ries is a great plane but Bom­bardier has had ma­jor fi­nan­cial is­sues. “That is no longer a prob­lem. You re­move that, you now have just a great jet that the peo­ple want.”

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