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Air New Zealand chooses ATR over Bombardier

Oct. 20, 2011, Montreal - Bombardier lost another contract to rival turboprop manufacturer ATR after Air New Zealand ordered seven aircraft with options for five more planes.


October 20, 2011
By The Canadian Press

The South Pacific airline plans to expand its regional fleet by adding the ATR 720-600 planes to more than double its existing fleet of the European-made planes.

The order had a list price of about US$270 million, although airlines usually receive substantial discounts.

Benoit Poirier of Desjardins Capital Markets said the order was disappointing news for Montreal-based Bombardier.

"Given the airline owns 23 Q300 turboprops, we had believed that Bombardier was favoured to win this order,'' he said in a report.

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"However, Air New Zealand also operates 11 ATR aircraft, and it appears that it has opted for the lower operating costs of ATR's aircraft over the faster speed of BBD's Q400.''

ATR has announced about 150 turboprop orders so far this year compared to just a handful Q400s for Bombardier.

Poirier said Bombardier indicated at a business jet conference last week that its pipeline for regional aircraft was intact, but orders have been delayed.

Indonesia's Garuda airlines is expected to order 18 CRJ planes or Embraer E-Jets by the end of November.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on behalf of Luxair placed a firm order for four Q400 NextGen planes valued at approximately US$126 million. The transaction also included options on an additional four Q400 NextGen aircraft.

Bombardier has announced production rate decreases for both its Q400 and regional jets because of slow order in take.

Air New Zealand and its subsidiary Air Nelson operates 23 Q300 aircraft.

"(They) continue to be one of Bombardier's key Q-Series aircraft operators; we look forward to continuing to do business with both these airlines,'' said Bombardier spokesman John Arnone.

Bombardier has recorded firm orders for 412 Q400 aircraft, with 368 delivered as of July 31.