Bri­tish Air­ways owner ‘lined up to buy’ C Se­ries jets from Bom­bardier

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY CHRIS MCCUL­LOUGH

A NEW order for Bom­bardier C Se­ries 300 jets by Bri­tish Air­ways owners IAG is ex­pected to be an­nounced soon, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

The deal is said to in­clude a num­ber of the jets for Bri­tish Air­ways and low­cost air­line Vuel­ing, as well as up to 10 for Aer Lin­gus.

Both Aer Lin­gus and Bri­tish Air­ways fly from Belfast City Air­port.

The Cana­dian aerospace gi­ant, which em­ploys 4,500 peo­ple in North­ern Ire­land, makes the wings of the C Se­ries pas­sen­ger jet in its Belfast plant.

Avi­a­tion in­dus­try sources were dis­cussing the new order at the week­end on so­cial media.

How­ever, a spokesman for IAG said it could not com­ment on the order claim.

And a spokes­woman for Bom­bardier in North­ern Ire­land said: “We don’t com­ment on spec­u­la­tion, nor on any po­ten­tial dis­cus­sions we may or may not be hav­ing with spe­cific cus­tomers.

“Bom­bardier will, how­ever, an­nounce any ma­te­rial agree­ments with a cus­tomer if and when they are fi­nalised.”

Back in June last year IAG boss Wil­lie Walsh told the Belfast Tele­graph that the Bom­bardier CS300 jet was “def­i­nitely one we are pre­pared to look at”.

On the back of other or­ders for the C Se­ries 300, in­clud­ing deals with Delta Air­lines and Lufthansa sub­sidiary Swiss, Mr Walsh said peo­ple were start­ing to look more closely at the jet.

Mr Walsh added: “The fact they have had the sig­nif­i­cant or­ders (is en­cour­ag­ing), the Delta order on the back of the Lufthansa one.

“I think ev­ery­one looking at the air­craft wanted to see a com­mit­ment from ma­jor op­er­a­tors to it. You don’t want to be the only per­son oper­at­ing the air­craft.

“A crit­i­cal is­sue for air­lines with an air­craft like that, is you want to make sure you have tech­ni­cal sup­port in all of the air­ports, or as many of the air­ports (as pos­si­ble).”

Speak­ing about the grow­ing suc­cess of Bom­bardier’s C Se­ries, Mr Walsh said: “I think it’s a big achieve­ment for them, as Delta and Air Canada are two very sig­nif­i­cant (air­lines).

“It puts that air­craft into play now, and I sus­pect that you will see a lot more air­lines (looking at it).

“The crit­i­cal is­sue with them, as it al­ways was, is how com­pet­i­tive can you be on price.”

“They had to get a scale of order to make them rel­e­vant for the in­dus­try.”

Just last week the Cana­dian govern­ment an­nounced it would lend Bom­bardier $372.5m (£225m) to help it se­cure more or­ders for the C Se­ries jet, and for re­search and de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties for its Global 7000 prod­ucts. Some com­po­nents for the Global 7000 are made in Belfast.

Bom­bardier has al­ready re­ceived $1bn in fund­ing from the re­gional govern­ment in Que­bec, where the com­pany is based.

And the C Se­ries pro­gramme also ben­e­fited from $350m in loans from the Cana­dian govern­ment when it was launched in 2005.

Bom­bardier last year an­nounced job cuts of 1,080 over two years in its North­ern Ire­land op­er­a­tions due to dif­fi­cult mar­ket con­di­tions and what had been weak sales of the C Se­ries — which is try­ing to break into a mar­ket dom­i­nated by Boe­ing and Air­bus.

The 2015 launch of the C Se­ries had been de­layed by over two years and was around $2bn over bud­get. Or­ders were also lower than ex­pected, but morale was boosted last April when Delta Air­lines placed an order for 125.

Air­baltic was the first to fly the CS300, now said to be at­tract­ing the at­ten­tion of IAG

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