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Oct 20, 2017

Airbus CEO says he expects to sell 'thousands' of CSeries jets

Airbus CEO Tom Enders

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MONTREAL - Airbus (AIR.PA) Chief Executive Tom Enders said on Friday he believed Bombardier Inc's (BBDb.TO) CSeries planes would capture half the market for smaller single-aisle aircraft with the sale of "thousands" of the 110-to-130 seat jets.

"I see no reason why we should not be able to capture 50 per cent of that market," Enders said in Montreal at a breakfast organized by the city's chamber of commerce. "I think we will sell thousands."

Europe's largest aerospace group on Monday agreed to take a majority stake in the CSeries program for US$1, a move expected to reduce costs while bolstering the plane's sales and giving Canada's Bombardier a possible way out of a damaging trade dispute with Boeing Co (BA.N) and U.S. regulators.

The lightweight, carbon-composite jet, which costs US$6 billion to develop, has won performance accolades but failed to secure a sale in 18 months.

On Thursday, the head of a major U.S. airplane leasing company said the deal boosts confidence in the CSeries program, but is unlikely to drive a flurry of immediate sales.

Customers will likely remain cautious until the trade dispute is closer to being resolved and the venture with Airbus closes in late 2018.

Some analysts have suggested that Airbus's 50.01 per cent stake in the CSeries could reverberate throughout the aerospace industry, triggering a riposte from other planemakers, including Boeing itself.

Commercial aerospace has four main powers dominated by Airbus and Boeing, which share the market above 150 seats.

Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier compete in the market between 100 and 150 seats as well as in the market for smaller regional jets.

Enders, who addressed Montreal's business leaders with Bombardier Chief Executive Alain Bellemare, said the industry-changing venture would have a ripple effect, but didn't specify what he meant further. "New alliances will be formed," he said.

Enders, along with Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare, delivered remarks at the Montreal event Friday. BNN's Paige Ellis was there: