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Bombardier's (BBD.B-T) order flow for the new C Series jet ticked up again Tuesday with the sale of 10 of the planes to Korean Air, the Canadian company's first Asian customer.
The order, announced the Paris Air Show Tuesday, is worth about $660 million US at list prices, though discounts are routinely available, especially for any new airplane’s first customers.
Walter Cho, Korean Air’s senior vice-president, hinted his airline got a big discount. “Bombardier has to sell planes,” he said.
The deal is at the letter of intent stage and should be definitive shortly. Korean Air also booked 10 options and 10 purchase rights, taking the total potential orders to 30. An option is the right to purchase an aircraft for delivery at a certain time. A purchase right comes with no definite delivery date.
Cho said Korean Air would not exercise the options until 2015, when its C Series model CS300 planes are in service with the airline. The C Series Pratt & Whitney Canada engine had its first test flight Monday. The plane itself will first fly in the second half of 2012.
The Korean Air order takes the number of sales announced at the Paris show to 20 since Monday, putting the total firm order book at 123 aircraft.
Bombardier had hoped for more orders, but one of its biggest potential customers, Qatar Airways, said on Monday that it was not ready to make a commitment to the C Series, which carries 110 to 145 passengers, depending on the model.
Gary Scott, president of Bombardier’s commercial aircraft division, said “We’re in ongoing discussions [with Qatar]. We have been at this stage for some time.”
Korean Air said the C Series jet are additions to its fleet, not replacements for older aircraft. They will be used on short- and medium-haul flights to as many as 50 cities in China, Japan and elsewhere in southeast Asia.
“This is our first C Series aircraft customer in Asia and signals the aircraft program’s entry into the fast-growing Asia-Pacific market,” Scott said.
Korean Air will not be the first airline to fly the C Series. An undisclosed customer, which is buying 10 aircraft, is to be the launch customer.
In a separate announcement, Bombardier said VistaJet of Switzerland had placed an order for 10 Bombardier Global 8000 large business aircraft. Based on list prices, the order is worth about $650-million. VistaJet last month ordered two Bombardier Challenger 605 jets and six Global 6000 jets.