Airbus deal increasing confidence in C Series
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.”