Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier predicts take-off in orders for CSeries jets

By John Mulgrew

Bombardier has announced it is anticipating another major order for its C-Series passenger jets, which are part-made in Belfast, at some point next year.

The Canadian plane-maker, which employs around 5,000 staff here, is hoping there will be a significant move for its CS300 and CS100 jets.

Colin Bole, senior vice president for sales at the firm's commercial aircraft arm, told Bloomberg: "We are not going to announce another mega-deal this year, though there may be something smaller, but we're hopeful of at least one in 2017."

Just last month, Bombardier delivered its first CS300 aircraft to Air Baltic.

This week, it also just secured a small order for two of its CS300 planes from Air Tanzania.

Bombardier earlier this year signed a deal with Air Canada to sell it up to 75 of its CSeries passenger jets, while US firm Delta also ordered 75.

The company has now reached an overall order book of 360 for the aircraft.

However, the firm is shedding 1,080 jobs across its Northern Ireland operations this year.

The business is also planning to axe 7,000 staff across the globe, but it has yet to be revealed how this round of cuts will affect staff here.

The Quebec government has a 49.5% share in the CSeries project, which it got in return for a $1bn bailout. Bombardier is also negotiating a further bailout from the Canadian government.

During the high-profile IATA (International Air Transport Association) AGM in Dublin this summer, British Airways boss Willie Walsh said he was having discussions with Bombardier boss Alain Bellemare about buying CSeries jets.

In September, another customer, Swiss Air, said that it was "satisfied" with the performance of the plane-maker's flagship aircraft, a month after they went into service.

According to the latest company results, which were released last month, Bombardier delivered 16 commercial aircraft, including the CSeries, QSeries and CRJ jets, during the last quarter.

It also delivered 36 business aircraft, including planes such as the Global 7000.

Cost-cutting helped slash Bombardier's commercial aircraft losses, including the part Belfast-built CSeries, to $450m (£393m), the company announced last month.

The aerospace giant added that it hoped to turn a full-year profit after posting losses of around $94m (£76m) for the past three months.

Bombardier reported consolidated revenues of $3.7bn (£3bn) in the third quarter, and £12bn (£9.7bn) in the first nine months of this year.

Speaking about the CSeries jets, a spokesman said: "We adjusted the delivery forecast for the CSeries aircraft program for the full year from 15 to seven aircraft as a result of engine delivery delays by our supplier Pratt & Whitney."

Alain Bellemare, Bombardier's president and chief executive officer, added: "We continue to gain momentum as we execute our turnaround plan and transform our company.

"As we close out this year, we are confident in our strategy, our turnaround plan and also in our ability to achieve our 2020 goals."

Speaking about Bombardier's struggles following a visit to the company's factory in Belfast last month, Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, said: "I left with a very strong impression of the pride that people take with the work that is done there.

"That being said, Bombardier - like a lot of aerospace companies around the world - is going through some challenging times at present."

Belfast Telegraph