Bombardier launches CSeries jet

Sun Jul 13, 2008 2:57pm EDT
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By Tim Hepher

FARNBOROUGH (Reuters) - Bombardier launched a new 110-130 seat passenger jet, the CSeries, on Sunday in a Canadian bid to challenge industry giants Airbus and Boeing.

Announcing the long-awaited launch on the eve of the Farnborough Air Show, the Canadian company said it had selected Mirabel near Montreal as the site to assemble the planes, which will enter service in 2013.

Mirabel had been competing with Kansas City, Missouri.

German airline Lufthansa has provisionally ordered 30 planes with an option for 30 more, Bombardier said. It has not so far signed a firm contract.

The CSeries will sell for $46.7 million each.

Bombardier had previously indicated it was waiting for at least 50-100 orders before launching the aircraft, but orders were scarcer this year as high oil prices weigh on demand.

"We are engaged in active and very promising discussions with a number of airlines worldwide," Chief Executive Pierre Baudouin told a news conference.

Bombardier said the launch, coming at a time when rocketing fuel prices and a shaky economy have put the brakes on a boom in airline orders, would "revolutionize" the economics of the 100-149 seat segment due to fuel-efficient, green technology.   Continued...