Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier to set out stall for its C Series jet as airline leaders meet

By John Mulgrew

Bombardier will take its flagship C Series jets to Dublin today in an "optimistic and unique opportunity" to secure interest and fresh orders.

Airline leaders from around the world are attending The International Air Transport Association's (Iata) annual general meeting, which will focus on the industry's sustainability and cyber security.

They'll be discussing the industry as a whole, as well as picking up new routes and potentially seeking out new orders for aircraft.

Canadian-owned Bombardier, which employs more than 5,000 staff here, secured a deal last month to sell 75 of its CS100 jets - part-made in Belfast - to Delta Airlines, with the potential for a further 50 orders.

In an interview with Reuters at the event yesterday, Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare would not say when it might repeat the Delta order - but he said he was confident the C Series would soon be taken up by all airline types.

And he said he hoped for a deal soon in talks over a $1bn cash boost from the Canadian government, which would add to a funds injection for the same sum from the Quebecois administration.

Brian Ambrose, Belfast City Airport boss and chairman of Tourism Ireland, is also attending the high-profile industry event.

Speaking at the launch of the event, Martin Craigs, chairman of Aerospace Forum Asia and a former Shorts/Bombardier worker, told the Belfast Telegraph: "This is a unique opportunity for the Bombardier C Series to get more traction after its encouraging recent order from Delta Airlines in the US.

"This is also a unique opportunity for airports to build up their connectivity. Brian Ambrose is one of the few invited from that sector."

Mr Craigs said the mood pre-conference was "upbeat under clear blue skies but cautiously optimistic due to constant pressure of external events".

The event will be hosted this year by British Airways and Aer Lingus boss Willie Walsh, who is chief executive of group IAG.

Bombardier's new Swiss Air Lines-branded C Series jet will also be on show at Dublin Airport this weekend.

Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, said: "As we approach first delivery and entry into service with launch operator Swiss next month, it's our pleasure to be showcasing the CS100 aircraft to influential industry leaders in Dublin during this premier Iata event.

"Our execution has been flawless in 2016 and as our teams focus on meeting our commitments, we're taking every opportunity to update the industry on our progress and continue to promote the C Series aircraft worldwide."

Tony Tyler, Iata's director-general, said: "Dublin is set to be the capital of the global air transport industry as leaders gather for the 72nd Iata AGM and World Air Transport Summit.

"The airline industry's most senior leaders will discuss measures to ensure the economic and social benefits of safe, secure, efficient and sustainable global air transport."

He added: "Ireland has always punched above its weight in the aviation world." And he described Dublin as a "vital transatlantic gateway to Europe".

Belfast Telegraph