The Dubai Air Show last week brought a welcome breakthrough for Bombardier’s efforts to build a sound base of sales for its new C Series airliner. Turkey’s Atlasjet signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 15 of the CS300 version. According to Chet Fuller, Bombardier sales vice president, the agreement could be firmed up by year-end.
Schedules still call for the CS300—the larger of the two C Series variants—to gain certification at the end of 2014. Atlasjet plans to take deliveries from the first quarter of 2016 through mid-2017. Although Bombardier hasn’t released information on seat capacity, Fuller did confirm that Atlasjet plans to take the airplanes with a high-density, single-class configuration. If Atlasjet exercises the further five options covered by the LOI, the value of the deal could rise to $1.18 billion.
Now holding firm orders for 133 C Series airliners, Bombardier continues talk with Qatar Airways about a prospective order, said Bombardier Aerospace president and COO Guy Hachey. In Dubai, Bombardier displayed a full flight deck demonstrator for the C Series.
Another regional airliner maker on the rise in Dubai was ATR, which took its already record annual sales tally for 2011 to 148 firm orders during the show. Russia’s NordStar Air ordered three ATR 42-600s, adding to a previous commitment for a pair of the 48-seat twin turboprop. ATR also confirmed that from next year it will cease production of the ATR 72-500 model, which is being replaced by the new -600 version. Indications during the Dubai show were that ATR could be close to sealing yet more deals in the remaining six weeks of 2011.
Also likely to be concluded in the coming weeks are Embraer’s discussions with customers over plans to re-engine its E-Jet family of regional airliners. Paolo Cesar de Souze e Silva, the Brazilian airframer’s executive vice president for the airline market, said that a final choice of the envisioned sole powerplant provider will be made in just over a year from now, with CFM International, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce in contention. Embraer has opened a sales office in Dubai under the leadership of Mathieu Duquesnoy, commercial aviation vice president for the Middle East and Africa.
Finally, Dubai witnessed the international debut of the MA600 twin turboprop developed by China’s Avic. The aircraft flown during the show was due to be delivered to Lao Aviation in Laos during the next year's first quarter.