Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

A Bombardier C-Series aircraft is displayed at the Singapore Airshow at Changi Exhibition Center February 18, 2016.

Edgar Su/Reuters

At the recent Singapore air show in February, Bombardier Inc. showed up with two business jets, a turboprop and – most importantly – one of its brand new C Series airliners, which the Montreal-based company is desperately trying to sell.

But despite record orders for other aircraft makers from fast-growing airlines in Asia, there has so far been no interest from Asian buyers in Bombardier's sleek new jet.

Bombardier had previously found a buyer in Asia – low-cost Thai carrier Nok Air – for two of its Q400 NextGen turboprops. But at the Singapore air show, the only real bit of good news for Bombardier came from back home, where Air Canada said it could buy up to 75 C Series jets. That purchase gave a huge boost to Bombardier's C Series as Ottawa continues to mull whether to follow the Quebec government and inject $1-billion to stabilize the troubled program, which has been plagued by cost overruns and delays.

Story continues below advertisement

The past decade has seen huge growth in Asian air travel, with a lot of the recent surge coming from discount airlines in Southeast Asia and India, where low-cost carriers, or LCCs, have taken off by offering cheap seats to a growing middle class.

But because a key operating principle of LCCs is to use mainly one model of aircraft, much of this growth has only really benefited the world's two largest plane makers and their established family of narrow-body aircraft: Boeing Co. and its Boeing 737 and Airbus Group SE and its popular A320. Both the A320 and the Boeing 737 can seat between 150 and 180 passengers, while the C Series seats between 100 and 150. Aircraft purchases in Asia are outpacing those in Europe, but with big orders coming from a densely populated region where carriers need to fly a lot of people on short-haul flights very cheaply, Bombardier's slightly smaller, more fuel-efficient jet simply isn't getting a lot of attention.

"For that size category of aircraft there is generally relatively limited interest in Southeast Asia," says Brendan Sobie, an analyst with the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Both Boeing and Airbus have also developed newer, more fuel-efficient versions of their existing aircraft with the A320neo (for "new engine option") and the 737 Max. But there is also the important matter of fleet uniformity, which is crucial for LCCs. Lance Gokongwei, the CEO of Cebu Pacific, is like many other low-cost airline executives: his fleet mostly consists of A320s.

"I can only speak for ourselves, but as a low-cost carrier we value commonality," Mr. Gokongwei said in an interview. "We're not about to change. Our forthcoming order is for 30 A320neos. We're pretty much set until 2021."

Bombardier did not respond to a request for comment.

Follow related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies