Analysis: New deals are a boost for Belfast
The deal with EgyptAir for up to 24 C Series CS300 aircraft follows closely after one with an unidentified new European customer for up to 61 aircraft, including both CS100 and CS300 models.
The EgyptAir deal builds on the momentum acquired in the European deal, and will provide new impetus as it gains a more diverse customer base. This is the second African customer for the C Series (Air Tanzania has an order for two aircraft), and the industry rumour mill suggests a third African customer could soon join them.
Airbus endorsement and its backing of the programme have removed the potential perceived risks from the programme, making it an easy choice for airlines to make rather than a difficult one. We expect, as a result, that a number of the Bombardier marketing campaigns under way will begin to bear fruit with an improved success rate than prior to the merger.
The aircraft itself is performing superbly with Swiss and AirBaltic, and is beating its promised performance and fuel burn numbers.
With a quieter and more comfortable cabin than the competition, the aircraft is also proving quite popular with customers.
The C Series, which utilises advanced materials, including the carbon fibre composite wing made in Belfast, is head and shoulders above older competitors from Airbus and Boeing, and will face relatively modern competition only from the Embraer E2 jets, which will begin delivery next year as a re-engining of an existing design that entered service in 2004.
The CSeries remains at the head of its class in terms of performance and comfort.
With Airbus now behind the C Series, sales momentum is building, which bodes well for the production facility in Belfast.
In addition to C Series work, the relationship with Airbus brings new possibilities as a potential supplier for the next generation of Airbus products as well, given the expertise of the facility with resin transfer molding and advanced composite materials.
Momentum, which swung upward with the Delta and Air Canada deals in 2016, is once again with the CSeries after the endorsement of the product by Airbus virtually eliminated overnight several potential customer concerns. We foresee a positive future for the CSeries and the Belfast facility.
Ernie Arvai is an analyst and consultant at AirInsight.com