- Co. 'on track' to deliver first planes to launch client Swiss
- Quebec government invested $1 billion in project last year
Bombardier Inc. expects to get certification from U.S. and European authorities for its new C Series jet in the first half of this year, and will deliver initial models to launch customer Swiss International Air Lines AG on time, one of the Canadian planemaker’s top executives said.
The Montreal-based maker of aerospace and rail equipment is "absolutely on track to deliver what we planned to deliver to Swiss," Colin Bole, senior vice president for sales, said in an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg TV at the Singapore Airshow.
Bombardier has been under pressure from its $5.4 billion investment to develop a transcontinental jet to compete with offerings from Airbus Group SE and Boeing Co. It has asked the Canadian government for aid to complete the C Series jet, which is already more than two years late and at least $2 billion over budget. Last year the company sold a 49.5 percent interest in the C Series to Quebec’s government for $1 billion.
Bombardier believes the C Series can compete with more established offerings from Boeing and Airbus, Bole said, adding, "what we’re offering is more than just an aircraft and a price, it’s a value proposition."
Bombardier rose 3.9 percent last Friday to C$0.81, its largest gain in two weeks. Shares crossed below C$1 in late January and are down 68 percent over the past year. The company is due to release its fourth-quarter and full-year results Wednesday.
Bombardier has 243 firm orders for the C Series -- including, in Asia, from Korean Air Lines Co. -- with delivery due to begin later this year. Delta Air Lines Inc. said earlier this month it’s seriously considering the C Series as it looks to add as many as 50 100-seats jets to its fleet.
A CS100 model in Swiss livery is being presented this week at the Singapore show. The larger CS300 model expected to gain certification mid-year.
Swiss, a regional arm of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, confirmed it expects to receive the first CS100 in the second quarter of this year. Still, the carrier’s chief executive officer, Harry Hohmeister, earlier this month said the delivery schedule of between one and two aircraft per month means Swiss may end up receiving only six to nine models this year, compared with the airline’s earlier forecast that it would receive 10 CS100s this year.
Deliveries of the CS300 to Swiss will begin next year. The carrier has ordered a total of 30 CSeries aircraft, and has options for 30 more.
Asia is expected to be the driving force behind global aircraft purchases in coming decades, but Bole said the Canadian company has had some difficulty penetrating the market as an outsider.
"Asia is probably not the low-hanging fruit market for us now," he said. "We see lots of opportunities in Europe, there’s a rather large reordering renewal opportunity there," as well as openings in North America.