A Bombardier CS300 aircraft takes off to for a flying display in 2015. Picture: REUTERS
A Bombardier CS300 aircraft takes off to for a flying display in 2015. Picture: REUTERS

London/New Delhi — Bombardier sealed the second deal for its C series jet since reaching a landmark agreement with Airbus a few weeks ago that will result in the European aircraft maker taking control of the programme and helping revive the fortunes of the narrow-body aircraft.

EgyptAir Airlines plans to buy 12 of Bombardier’s biggest variant of the jet, the CS300, and has options for a further 12, the carrier said on Tuesday at the Dubai Air Show. The deal is valued at $1.1bn before discounts.

The accord is a significant win for Bombardier, which gains another customer for its new jet less than a month after the company agreed to cede control of the C Series to Airbus in exchange for the European aircraft maker’s marketing heft and manufacturing expertise. The aircraft had been plagued by delays and cost overruns, and recently was hit with 300% tariffs in the US after a trade complaint by Boeing Co.

Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare told analysts two weeks ago that he expected sales of the C Series would accelerate following the deal with Airbus. Its presence is "adding confidence about the long-term success of the programme," he said on November 2.

That same day, Montreal-based Bombardier said an unidentified European customer was planning to buy 31 C Series aircraft with options for 30 more. Bombardier hasn’t sealed a major purchase since Delta Air Lines ordered 75 aircraft in April 2016.

The CS300 carries a list price of $89.5m, although discounts of 50% or more are common in the industry. The jet, the larger of two C Series versions, can carry 130 to 160 passengers.

Airbus has vowed to cut the aircraft’s production costs and secure thousands of new orders for the C Series, which Bombardier spent more than $6bn to develop. The C Series was two-and-a-half years late and more than $2bn over budget when it entered service at Deutsche Lufthansa’s Swiss International unit in July 2016. Swiss and Air Baltic, which began flying the CS300 in December, have reported better-than-expected fuel efficiency, which is key to the jet’s appeal.

EgyptAir is separately expected to unveil a deal for at least six Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners, the first passenger jets made from strands of carbon fibre, said people familiar with the discussions. Airbus has also been in talks to secure a commitment from the carrier, the people said.

The shopping spree, following months of negotiations, marks an expansion push for Egypt’s flag carrier after it weathered slumping tourist visits and a fatal crash in 2018. Egypt civil aviation minister Sherif Fathy said in October that the government expected to pay about $3.3bn of the cost to acquire 45 aircraft.

Bloomberg

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