A Russian leasing company is the latest name to be added to the orderbook for Bombardier's CSeries aircraft with a deal which could be worth up to £2.2bn.
Moscow-based Ilyushin Finance Co (IFC) has agreed to buy 32 CS200 aircraft, worth £1.7bn, with options for an additional 10 CS300 worth around £0.5bn.
Ilyushin signed a letter of intent to buy the aircraft back in 2011 but will be subject to approval by the company's shareholders.
Alexander Rubtsov, Director General at IFC, said the aircraft's efficiency and environmental credentials proved a big draw for its leasing business.
"The aircraft leasing world is changing rapidly," said Alexander Rubtsov, Director General, IFC.
"As older, less efficient designs present ongoing challenges to airlines – given high fuel costs and heightened environmental concerns – the CSeries aircraft offers transcontinental range, superior field and runway performance, and a superb cabin that will bring air transport into the 21st century." The order for the CSeries – which is aimed at the 100-149-seat market – is the first for large non-Russian aircraft by IFC.
Mike Arcamone, President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, said the Russian market holds significant potential.
"This is a landmark opportunity for Bombardier Aerospace and its CSeries aircraft.
"The CSeries aircraft was tailor-made for operation in this vast region and has the potential to offer a step-change in air travel in Russia and indeed throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States."
There were fears the first flight of the CSeries would be delayed but Bombardier confirmed yesterday a test flight would take place in June 2013.
That's good news for the Belfast plant which is responsible for the design and manufacture of the centre fuselage, engine nacelles and composite wing components for the CRJ900 NextGen jet.
So far, Bombardier has booked orders and commitments for 382 CSeries aircraft that include firm orders for 148 CSeries airliners.
Canadian-owned Bombardier employs more than 5,000 people in Northern Ireland.