Bombardier Inc.'s CSeries programme received another vote of confidence Monday when Lease Corporation International (LCI) ordered 20 of the Montreal-based aircraft maker's next- generation narrow-body aircraft. The lessor also placed options for a further 20.
For Bombardier the order comes hard on the heels of a order from launch customer Lufthansa, which earlier this month confirmed 30 firm orders with 30 options.
The Dublin-based aircraft lessor said the order is for three CSeries 100, which will seat about 110 passengers, and 17 CSeries 300 jets, which will seat about 130.
The LCI has about 20 airline customers, about half European and the other half Asian. These also include Oman Air, along with Air France, British Airways, Iberia, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Hong Kong Express, Shenzhen Airlines and Hainan Airlines.
The list price of the deal is Canadian $1.82 billion ($1.44 billion). But as an early buyer, following in the wake of Lufthansa, LCI would have received attractive options.
Bombardier Aerospace spokesperson Marc Duchesne said it was "gratifying" that "we signed a firm deal with Lufthansa on March 11, and now another with LCI. We hope to have more (such) announcements in the weeks and months to come." Hedid not reveal which airlines, or how many, Bombardier was talking to.
According to Duchesne, an order from a leasing company is "a very good sign" and "significant" because lessors account for about one-third of all aircraft purchases on behalf of airlines.
LCI is owned by the Libra Group, a private London-based conglomerate with large investments in hotels, commercial real estate and renewable energy.
The narrow-body category, to which the CSeries belongs, is dominated by Boeing's 737 and Airbus's A319 and A320 models. Bombardier's CSeries slips into the narrow gap between Embraer's ERJ-190, which seats up to about 110 and the B737 and A319, which are generally configured to seat more than 130 passengers.
According to LCI, the CSeries was chosen "because it's a step forward in technology," notably the Pratt & Whitney engine being currently developed, and its carbon-fibre fuselage.
According to a LCI spokesman Bombardier generally expected operating-cost reductions of 15 per cent with the aircraft.