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Bombardier deal for five aircraft could rise to a dozen

By John Mulgrew

Bombardier is selling up to 12 of its Q400 planes - which are part-made in Belfast - to Philippine Airlines. The carrier announced its intention to buy the aircraft in October. It has now confirmed an order for five, with an option to buy a further seven.

The deal is valued at approximately $165m (£135m), and could increase to $401m (£327m) should Philippine Airlines exercise its option.

Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier commercial aircraft, said: "With the lowest seat-mile costs in the regional aircraft market, the extra-capacity, two-class Q400 aircraft will offer Philippine Airlines significant opportunities to differentiate itself competitively.

"The Q400 aircraft is the ideal solution for the airline as it develops its domestic operations network from secondary hubs and increases intra-island connectivity."

The Canadian manufacturer's Belfast operation designs and builds the wing-mounted flight components for the turboprop.

The five ordered aircraft are expected to be delivered throughout next year.

Bombardier has received orders for 571 Q400s. Airlines operating the planes include Flybe. The carrier uses them on flights from Belfast to destinations including Edinburgh and Southampton.

Bombardier says it expects to see single-digit revenue growth next year buoyed by a ramp-up in its CSeries passenger jets.

It also says it will continue to push for a $1bn bailout from the Canadian Government.

The manufacturer, which employs around 5,000 people in Northern Ireland, is cutting 1,080 jobs here.

Just last month the company delivered its first CS300 aircraft to Air Baltic. It also secured an order for two of the jets from Air Tanzania.

Earlier this year Bombardier signed a deal with Air Canada for up to 75 of the CSeries passenger jets, and US airline Delta also ordered 75.

The company order book for the aircraft now stands at 360.

In its latest accounts, released last month, cost-cutting helped slash Bombardier's commercial aircraft losses to $450m (£393m).

Elsewhere in Bombardier's business, it closed 2016 with a $2bn (£1.64bn) deal at its Berlin-based rail division by signing a framework agreement with Austrian Federal Railways that could cover up to 300 trains.

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