Bombardier expects smaller aircraft sales to take flight

08:47, May 12, 2010      

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Civil aircraft maker Bombardier Inc on Tuesday said it expects bulk of the new orders for its new regional aircraft to come from China as demand for smaller passenger jets is fast growing in the nation.

The Canadian company said its new 100- to 150-seat aircraft, the CSeries, would take to the skies in 2013 and also help it catch up with bigger peers like Boeing and Airbus

Bombardier sees over 20 percent of the orders for the new aircraft coming from China, said Gary Scott, president, commercial aircraft, at Bombardier.

Scott is visiting China to meet potential customers including major Chinese airlines and local aircraft leasing companies. Though it is yet to bag any formal orders, Bombardier is confident about the future as it has received positive feedback from potential buyers, said Scott.

"China is currently the second-biggest market for us after the United States," he said.

The Montreal-based company said there would be a demand for over 6,300 regional aircraft with seating capacity of 100 to 150 over the next two decades. That demand translates into a market worth more than $250 billion and Bombardier expects to bag a 50 percent share of the market, Scott said.

In 2008, Bombardier signed a contract with the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), a subsidiary of the Chinese aerospace conglomerate Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), to supply the center fuselage for new aircraft.

Scott said Bombardier will seek to expand its cooperation with AVIC in the future to capitalize on China's growing demand for regional aircraft.

Industry experts expect that regional aircraft and 150-seat narrow-body airplanes will account for the majority of China's demand over the next 20 years.

China, particularly the western region, is in bad need of optimized and smaller regional aircraft, which can take off from difficult and high-altitude airports and fly relatively long distances. At present domestic airlines use larger Boeing or Airbus passenger jets but often fly them half empty.

Bombardier's launch of the single-aisle, five-across CSeries aircraft will put it in direct competition with the smaller versions of Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 planes in the 100- to 150-seat market, a segment neglected by the bigger industry rivals.

Scott said that the company currently has no plans to build a production base or start a joint venture in China. But he said Bombardier is closely watching Airbus and Boeing's progress of manufacturing commercial aircraft in China and indicated that it might consider that possibility in the future.

Source: China Daily


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