Bombardier sees confidence in CSeries as Swiss opts for bigger plane

Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:36am EDT
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By Sarah Young

PARIS (Reuters) - Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier (BBDb.TO: Quote), under pressure to boost sales of its new CSeries narrow-body jet, said an upgrade to a larger plane by launch customer Swiss for part of its 30 jet-order showed confidence in the project.

The CSeries made its air show debut in Paris on Monday ahead of certification expected at the end of this year, and Bombardier is hoping to revamp the jet's reputation to drive sales after years of delays and cost overruns.

Bombardier said Swiss, owned by Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote), would convert 10 of its 30-ordered CSeries jets to the larger CS300 version and they would be received by the customer in 2017.

The conversion showed confidence in the CSeries family, said Bombardier, which has not announced a single firm CSeries order since September.

"The CS100 aircraft provides the extraordinary field performance needed for operations at some very challenging airports, while the CS300 aircraft provides outstanding economics," Bombardier's president of commercial aircraft Fred Cromer said.

But in blow, Qatar Airways said separately on Monday it was no longer interested in the CSeries.

Bombardier also said it was working with existing customer Russian leasing company Ilyushin Finance (IFC) to find appropriate aircraft and financing solutions.

IFC said it wanted to revise the terms of its CSeries order during the air show being held this week. IFC signed a deal in 2013 to acquire 32 CS300 with an option for an additional 10.   Continued...

The Bombardier CS100 and CS300 aircrafts are seen on a static display one day before the opening of the 51st Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport near Paris June 14, 2015.  REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol