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The interior of the demonstration cabin of a Bombardier C Series. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
The interior of the demonstration cabin of a Bombardier C Series. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Bombardier confirms European startup as buyer in C Series deal Add to ...

Bombardier Inc. has disclosed that a previously announced order for 10 of its new C Series aircraft was placed by European startup Odyssey Airlines.

Meanwhile, Bombardier’s arch-rival Embraer S.A. unveiled on Monday a new generation of bigger commercial jets in the category Bombardier is aiming to dominate with its C Series aircraft.

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Montreal-based Bombardier said at the Paris Air Show that Odyssey Airlines has put in for 10 of the smaller 110-seat C Series, the CS100. The firm order is valued at $628-million (U.S.), based on list prices.

Odyssey will operate out of London City Airport.

The firm order was announced in June of 2011.

“For us, the game-changing C Series aircraft offers the best-in-class airfield performance, the lowest sound profile of any commercial aircraft in production in its segment, and will provide the ability to open new markets – all of which are integral to our business model,” Odyssey chief executive Adam Scott said in a news release Monday.

Bombardier still has a relatively thin order book for the 100-to-149-seat C series jet: 177 firm orders.

It’s aiming for 300 firm orders worth $19-billion by the time the narrow-body enters service in mid-2014.

Maiden flight of the C Series is scheduled for the end of June.

Also at the Paris Air Show, Brazil’s Embraer launched its new line of roomier, more efficient E-Jets.

The E190-E2 is slated to enter service in the first half of 2018, while the E195-E2 and E175-E2 are scheduled for 2019 and 2020, respectively.

“The launch of the E2 builds on our vision to offer leading-edge commercial jets with a capacity right-sized for 70 to 130 seats, seamless mainline comfort, and performance for flexible and efficient utilization by regional, low-cost, and network carriers,” Embraer S.A. president and CEO Frederico Fleury Curado said in a statement.

Embraer said it will apply advanced technologies in the overhaul of its E-Jets that will include new wings, avionics and engines.

It plans to add three rows to its largest jet, the E195, making it able to accommodate up to 132 seats.

It will add one row to its E175, to seat up to 88 passengers.

The E190-E2 will remain the same size at up to 106 seats.

Bombardier and Embraer have been battling it out in the regional jet market for years, and now Embraer wants to make sure it isn’t shut out of the larger aircraft segment Bombardier hopes to carve out with its all-new C Series.

Bombardier is aiming to capture about half of the 6,900 single-aisle 100-to-149-seat jets carriers are forecast to purchase over the next 20 years.

The two giants of the aircraft market, Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS, are adding new engines to existing models in a counter-move to Bombardier’s C Series strategy.

Bombardier insists that the C Series’ fuel efficiency and lower operating costs and clean-sheet design make it a more attractive plane.

The $3.4-billion C Series program is Bombardier’s big bet to move beyond its established regional-jet base and corporate-jet market.

Meanwhile, Bombardier and a major Chinese aircraft manufacturer also said they are pushing further ahead in a strategic collaboration aimed at reducing costs and enhancing their respective market shares.

Bombardier and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd. (Comac) said that they have signed a definitive agreement as part of the second phase of a long-term pact to strengthen the commonalities between Bombardier’s new C Series jetliner and Comac’s C919 jet.

The agreement will see the two companies work together on specific areas of the C Series flight test activities related to non-flying tasks; implementing and maintaining the common items agenda achieved in the first phase; sales and marketing; and some customer services areas related to training, technical publications and parts distribution.

The deal is expected to help boost the respective aircraft’s competitiveness as well both companies’ overall businesses, they said in a joint news release.

They also anticipate improved cost savings and market shares as well as the ability to offer customers of the C919 and C Series cost savings from the operation of both aircraft families thanks to commonalities.

Phase one of the collaborative program between the two firms was signed in March of 2012.

For Bombardier, the world’s third largest commercial aircraft maker and top train manufacturer, the accord provides greater access to the increasingly critical Chinese aviation market.

 
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