UPDATE 1-Delta throws Bombardier a lifeline with deal to buy 75 CSeries

Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:23am EDT
 
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(Adds details, background)
    April 28 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc on Thursday
ordered 75 CSeries CS100 planes worth $5.6 billion from
Bombardier Inc, throwing a lifeline to a new aircraft
program that is years late and billions of dollars over budget.
    The widely anticipated order marks a turning point for
Canada's Bombardier as it strives to break into the fleets of
top airlines globally and serve a niche market for 100-seat
planes that larger rivals Boeing Co and Airbus Group SE
 have neglected. 
    With the CSeries order, Delta said it would not induct
Embraer's E190 into its fleet as planned. Delta had
said in December it would add up to 20 Embraer 190 and 20 new
Boeing 737-900ER jets. (bit.ly/1JcAHz8)
    Bombardier said separately on Thursday that the deal
included an option for Delta to buy an additional 50 CS100
aircraft. 
    For Delta, the deal allows it to phase out 50-seat jets that
it contracts regional airlines to fly under its Delta Connection
brand.
    The larger CS100 planes burn less fuel per passenger and
have room for two cabin classes rather than one, giving it the
opportunity to up-sell customers to business.
    The Bombardier aircraft will also be flown by Delta's own
pilots, reducing Delta's reliance on contractors as a shortage
of regional pilots looms in the United States.
    Boeing beat out Bombardier to sell United Continental
Holdings Inc 65 jets earlier this year. The planemaker
is also studying whether to revise one version of its
best-selling 737 jet to fend off the competition. 
    Swiss International Air Lines, a unit of Deutsche Lufthansa
AG, expects to take delivery of its first CS100 at the
end of June, with the first flight, from Zurich to Paris Charles
de Gaulle, scheduled for July 15.
    Air Canada has also signed a letter of intent to buy
45 CSeries, with an option for 30 more of the narrow-body
aircraft.

 (Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in New York and Sayantani Ghosh in
Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)