Wings Magazine

Survey suggests order delays for Bombardier’s CSeries

Sept. 15, 2011, Montreal - Interest remains high in Bombardier's new CSeries aircraft but many airlines feel no sense of urgency to place orders, says an RBC Capital Markets survey.

September 15, 2011  By Carey Fredericks

Most of the 26 airlines surveyed — representing more than a third of airlines around the world who fly similar-sized 100- to 149-seat capacity aircraft — had favourable views of the plane, which offers an estimated 20 per cent fuel burn savings and 15 per cent lower operating costs.

But the airlines preferred to take a "wait and see'' approach with placing orders, says the report by analyst Walter Spracklin.

That sentiment suggests further order delays for the plane, a point that was reaffirmed by Delta Air Lines' decision this week to delay an order for about 100 mid-sized aircraft.

The RBC survey found that fleet commonality was the key concern for potential buyers as airlines worry about the costs and complexity of introducing another aircraft type to their fleets.


Spracklin said the lack of urgency expressed by airlines and emerging macoeconomic headwinds suggest the Montreal-based manufacturer may not be able to achieve its goal of 300 orders late 2013 when the first plane is set to enter into service.

Bombardier has received 133 firm orders and 129 options for the two sizes of CSeries.

Some observers question, however, whether Republic Airways will maintain its US$3-billion order for 40 larger CSeries planes in light of its decision to become launch customer for Airbus' rival A319neo.

Delivery of the Bombardier planes to Republic is set to start in 2015. It also has options for another 40 aircraft, that could raise the contract to US$6.34 billion at list prices.

The airline has insisted it plans to stick with both planes, even though they will be powered by different engines.

Bombardier's shares fell to a new 52-week low Wednesday and the current pace of CSeries orders might not be enough of a catalyst to propel the stock price significantly higher, Spracklin added.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bombardier shares were up 19 cents, or 4.5 per cent, at C$4.39 in morning trading Thursday.


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