Bombardier’s prospects in China brightened considerably last month as the Canadian manufacturer signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Nantong Tongzhou Bay Aviation covering 30 Q400 turboprops and collected a firm order for three CRJ900s from China Express Airlines.
The LOI with Nantong outlines terms for delivery of the turboprops to a new carrier called Sutong Airlines. Based in Nantong in Jiangsu province, the new airline would start service in 2015. Bombardier places the value of the deal at nearly $1 billion based on list prices.
The announcement of the deal with Nantong came only three days after Bombardier said it secured a firm order for three CRJ900s from China Express Airlines. That order accompanied a conditional purchase agreement covering another five and options on a further eight of the 86-seat jets. Based in Guiyang, Guizhou, China Express provides regional passenger services with a fleet of five Bombardier CRJ200s and six CRJ900. Last year the airline became the first to operate the CRJ900 in the country.
“By 2016, we anticipate that China Express will have approximately 90 routes, three times the number of existing routes, and will cover 60 percent of China’s regional cities,” said China Express president Wu Longjiang.