Embraer SA won a regional-jet order valued at $2.4 billion from a U.S. commuter carrier while Bombardier Inc. sought firm purchases for its embattled CSeries after getting commitments to buy the planes.
Trans States Holdings Inc. agreed to buy 50 of the E175-E2 model, Embraer said today at the Farnborough Air Show near London. Bombardier reached a tentative 20-jet deal with China’s Zhejiang Loong Airlines Co. for the new CSeries, which is missing the industry’s biggest expo after an engine fire.
Embraer’s deal and Bombardier’s quest for more customers for the CSeries highlight the divergent approaches at the two biggest makers of regional aircraft. Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil-based Embraer is upgrading its signature E-jet family, while Bombardier has struggled for customers for the CSeries, whose larger size pits it against traditional airliners.
“The whole Embraer strategy is, ‘Let’s stay in our niche and let’s be the strongest player,’” Cai Von Rumohr, a Cowen Securities LLC analyst, said in a telephone interview from Boston. “The CSeries is aimed at a relatively small niche.”
Trans States controls Trans States, Compass and GoJet airlines, which make regional flights for mainline U.S. carriers including United Airlines. Bridgeton, Missouri-based Trans States also has an option to purchase 50 more E-Jets.
Embraer said firming up the Trans States order would give the company a backlog of 150 E175-E2 jets. The E175-E2 lists for $48.3 million; buyers typically get discounts. Embraer also has orders for 50 E190-E2 and 50 E195-E2 planes, according to a filing.
While Bombardier’s Chinese sales accord isn’t yet a firm order, that agreement -- and its list value of $1.28 billion -- added to optimism that the CSeries may finally be gaining ground. On July 12, lessor Falko Regional Aircraft Ltd. signed letters of intent for as many as 24 CSeries jets from Montreal-based Bombardier.
Neither of those deal announcements gave a timeline for a firm order. The CSeries had 203 orders heading into the Farnborough show, short of the goal of 300 by the time the plane enters commercial service in 2015’s second half.
Bombardier’s widely traded Class B shares rose 1.6 percent, the most in a month, to C$3.83 at the close in Toronto. Embraer gained 3.3 percent to 22.07 reais in Sao Paulo.
Bombardier also said that it signed a letter of intent to sell four CSeries planes to Petra Airlines and converted a previous agreement with Falcon Aviation to a two-jet order.
The setbacks for the CSeries include schedule delays and cost overruns, and the four-plane test fleet was grounded after a May incident in which an engine caught fire during a ground trial. Bombardier and engine maker Pratt & Whitney said they are working on fixes to pave the way for resuming test flights in a matter of weeks.