Bombardier Inc. said on Saturday that Falko Regional Aircraft Ltd., a lessor based in Britain, has signed two letters of intent to buy up to 24 C S100 jets, the first new C Series deal announced since the first quarter.
The deal comes just as Britain’s Farnborough International Airshow officially kicks off on Monday, where expectations have been mixed on whether Bombardier would be announcing any major deals for its brand-new C Series jetliner.
The C Series is not expected to make an appearance at the world’s largest aerospace event.
Bombardier’s new jet family is the Canadian plane maker’s ticket to cracking a potentially lucrative 100- to 149-seat market and is pitting the company against giants, Boeing Co. and Airbus Group NV.
But the C Series, which Bombardier touts as having superior fuel and operating efficiencies, has faced a number of obstacles including multiple delays for the multibillion dollar program and most recently, engine problems that have grounded the test planes.
Falko Regional Aircraft, which was formed in 2011, has already added Bombardier’s regional jet and turboprop to its leasing portfolio.
“As we begin a period of worldwide growth and expansion with a strong pipeline of acquisitions, the C Series aircraft will figure prominently in our plans.
“We are confident about its future and positioning in our core marketplace,” said Falko’s Mark Hughes, executive vice-president of corporate finance.
The last commitment for a C Series was in February, when Abu Dhabi-based Falcon Aviation Services signed a letter of intent for one C S300 aircraft and an option for another.
Bombardier also disclosed two previously unannounced firm orders in its first quarter results.
The Montreal-based manufacturer says it has booked orders and commitments for 471 C Series jets, including 203 firm orders.
It aims to have 300 firm orders by the time the plane enters into service – currently slated for the second half of 2015.
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