December 3, 2008 / 9:06 AM / in 9 years

UPDATE 1-Bombardier sees backlog up in 08, concerned on 09

SHANGHAI, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier BBDb.TO expects its orders this year to at least equal its deliveries, adding to its nearly two-year backlog, although it is concerned about the outlook for next year, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

Gary Scott, President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, also said the company had seen no order cancellations during the recent economic downturn, although a few airlines had asked to delay deliveries.

“We have close to a two-year backlog and orders continue to come in at pretty good clip,” Scott told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry forum in Shanghai.

“We think it will be a year where again we add to our backlog. In other words, we get orders that will be equal to or greater than the deliveries.”

Bombardier, the world’s No. 1 passenger train maker and No. 3 in civil aircraft, is in talks with potential buyers in China and neighbouring regions about its CSeries jets and expects to announce orders soon, he said. He did not name the airlines or elaborate on the size of the orders.

The 110 to 130 seat passenger jet, which the company launched in July, represents a branching out into bigger aircraft from its current lines of regional jets and turboprops and is touted as using more fuel-efficient technology.

NO CANCELLATIONS

Aircraft makers such as Boeing BA.N are facing requests for delays in aircraft delivery from airlines hit badly by high operating costs and weak air traffic demand as the global economy falters.

Scott said his firm was holding up well so far because of its strong order backlog, but he was concerned about the trend in the airline industry.

“We haven’t had any real cancellations to date. We have had a very few airlines ask for some delays. Some were related to the economic conditions, others unrelated,” he said.

Alaska Air Group ALK.N said last month it was in talks with Bombardier about deferring deliveries of Q400 turboprop aircraft to its Horizon Air unit.

The Canadian manufacturer has already proposed a deferral schedule that would include the delivery of one aircraft by the end of this year, five next year, five in 2010, and the last three sometime later, it said.

Bombardier’s turboprop line had enjoyed a resurgence earlier this year as rising fuel prices drove carriers to order more efficient aircraft. But in recent months, fuel costs have plunged along with the deteriorating outlook for global economic growth. (Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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