Bombardier pushes for airline talks, China breakthrough after Delta deal

Thu May 5, 2016 10:57pm EDT
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By Allison Lampert and Siva Govindasamy

MONTREAL/SINGAPORE May 6 (Reuters) - Boosted by a pivotal CSeries deal with Delta Air Lines, Canada's Bombardier Inc is rekindling sales talks with several U.S. and European carriers, even as it eyes China, the world's fastest-growing aviation nation.

Montreal-based Bombardier is leveraging last week's order for 75 of the 110-seater CSeries narrowbodies to renew contact with established Western carriers, while harbouring mid-term plans to win a breakthrough order from Chinese airlines, company executives said.

The Delta deal, along with an expected firm order for 45 planes from Air Canada, give Montreal-based Bombardier the North American "anchor" it needs to bolster efforts globally, the company's chief executive said in an interview with Reuters.

"I would say the focus (on China) has to increase," Chief Executive Alain Bellemare said. "Clearly, this is a target market for us."

The momentum has helped the company to "advance" its conversations with Chinese carriers, say company executives.

Chinese passenger traffic has grown by double digits over the last decade, and industry observers expect the country's air travel market to remain buoyant despite any economic slowdown.

Airbus Group SE predicts the Chinese domestic market will leapfrog the United States as the world's largest within 10 years.

Rising passenger traffic in cities away from the main hubs of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou can help convince airlines to opt for the 110-150 seat CSeries planes, said Andy Solem, who oversees commercial aircraft sales in China.   Continued...