UPDATE 1-Delta CEO says mulling purchase of Bombardier CSeries jets

Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:22pm EST
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(Adds Bombardier stock movement, analyst quote, background, comment from Bombardier)

Jan 19 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc is considering whether to purchase Bombardier's CSeries aircraft, the carrier's chief executive said on Tuesday, in what could be a headline-grabbing win for the planemaker's new flagship jet.

Canada's Bombardier hopes to find a major customer to give momentum to the single-aisle CSeries as it prepares the jet to enter service after years of delays and cash problems.

"We actually think at the right price it's quite a competitive airplane, particularly given the engine technology," Delta Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said on the airline's quarterly conference call with investors. "We're taking a very serious look at it."

Delta, the third-largest U.S. airline by capacity, previewed the jet in late December at its Atlanta headquarters.

Bombardier stock was up more than 3 percent in midday trading. A spokeswoman for the Montreal-based plane and train-maker said Bombardier's sales campaign to airlines for the CSeries has gained momentum since the aircraft's certification in December.

"We are a top contender in several key campaigns," spokeswoman Marianella de la Barrera said by phone from Toronto.

In a separate campaign, larger rival Boeing Co looks well placed to snatch at least part of a deal for about 30 small jets from United Continental Holdings Inc, worth around $2 billion at list prices.

Still, a deal with United has not been finalised and could face last-minute shifts in negotiations with competing bidders like Bombardier and rival Embraer SA.   Continued...