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Bombardier CSeries faces another rival

July 20, 2011, Montreal - Bombardier's CSeries is under new pressure after Boeing signalled plans Wednesday to offer a re-engined version of its workhorse 737 narrowbody aircraft.


July 20, 2011
By The Canadian Press

Boeing joins Europe's Airbus in offering a more fuel-efficient engine on an existing plane.

The Seattle-based manufacturer will offer CFM International's new Leap-X engine on the 737. That's one of the engine options available for the Airbus planes.

The other Airbus engine option is Pratt & Whitney's geared turbofan, which will power the CSeries.

The final decision to re-engine must come from Boeing's board of directors. However, the option was disclosed as part of a large order from American Airlines.

The U.S. carrier is buying at least 460 new planes over the next five years in what it calls the biggest airline order in history.

The order, valued at more than US$38 billion, is being split with 260 planes from Airbus and 200 from Boeing. The Boeing order includes 100 re-engined planes.

Analysts are divided on the impact of Boeing's decision.

Benoit Poirier of Desjardins Capital Markets said Boeing's move provides clarity for customers and could accelerate orders for the CSeries.

But Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said while it is negative for the Montreal-based manufacturer, it would be worse if Boeing also re-engines its smaller 737-700.

For now, he said the bigger challenge remains the smaller Airbus A319neo, which received its first order at last month's Paris Air Show from CSeries customer Republic Airways.

With American Airlines now opting for Boeing and Airbus, Bombardier's hopes of winning a big CSeries order rests with Delta, he said.

Bombardier has received 133 firm orders and 129 options for the two sizes of CSeries. The smaller 110- to 125-seat plane is scheduled to enter into service the end of 2013.