Bombardier Inc (BBD/B)’s. efforts to sell additional CSeries jetliners have progressed since the plane took to the skies for the first time last month, one of the company’s top marketing executives said.
More than 60 aircraft lessors and appraisers attended presentations on the CSeries in Mirabel, Quebec, earlier this week, said Philippe Poutissou, vice president of marketing at Bombardier’s commercial aircraft unit. Montreal-based Bombardier last month hosted “dozens” of country delegations during the triennial general assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization to show off the plane, he said.
The first CSeries test plane successfully completed its maiden flight on Sept. 16 -- 8 1/2 months late. The jet will be the company’s biggest ever, seating as many as 160 people. Bombardier is depending on it as a catalyst to almost double annual revenue toward the end of the decade.
“We’ve certainly advanced many discussions” since that first flight, Poutissou said today in an interview at the Canadian Aerospace Summit in Ottawa. “If you measure the level of interest by the number of customers who’ve asked to come and visit Mirabel since the aircraft has flown, it’s fantastic.”
Bombardier, the third-biggest aircraft maker, is still 123 firm orders short of a target of 300 by the time the CSeries enters service in about a year. Mike Arcamone, who runs the commercial aircraft unit, is in China this week to drum up business for the jet, Poutissou said.
“We have a very strong pipeline, and we have conversations at all stages” of development, Poutissou said. “We have advanced conversations, where we’re talking about commercial terms, and early conversations, where people are starting to assess how the CSeries could fit into their business model.”
Bombardier has said the CSeries, which features the new geared turbofan engine from United Technologies Corp. (UTX)’s Pratt & Whitney, will cost about 15 percent less to operate, cut fuel burn by about 20 percent and produce less noise.
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