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Jun 14, 2017

Bombardier not expected to announce CSeries orders in Paris: Report

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MONTREAL - Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) is unlikely to announce new CSeries orders at the Paris Air Show next week, as it grapples with broader market weakness, though demand for smaller regional aircraft is growing, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Expectations are growing for the plane-and-train-maker to announce new orders for its fuel-efficient 110-to-130 seat CSeries jets after it failed to secure any substantial orders in about a year.

But even as some market observers look to showcase events like Paris, which are used to launch products and make order announcements, planemakers are bracing for softer sales in 2017 after a prolonged order boom.

"I think it is a slow time period because there was this binge of orders in the last few years," said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. "Airlines are still trying to figure out their fleet plans."



Bombardier did not announce any orders for the CSeries jets at the Farnborough Airshow last year, but won key sales campaigns from Delta Air Lines and Air Canada in the months preceding the event.

Lack of new orders could be one factor weighing on the stock which fell as much as 10 per cent last Friday after the U.S International Trade Commission gave a green light to start an anti-dumping probe against the CSeries for alleged unfair subsidies.

"We are encouraged by the discussions we are having with our potential customers on all our platforms, but deals will be announced once they are signed," Bombardier spokesman Bryan Tucker said.

As of December 2016, the CSeries had recorded 360 firm orders and most capacity is sold out through 2020. Average list prices as of January, 2017 were $79.5 million for the 110-seat CS100 and $89.5 million for the 130-seat CS300, but airlines typically receive discounts of around 50 per cent on aircraft.

Bombardier has said it is comfortable with the company's existing CSeries sales, and head of commercial aviation Fred Cromer recently dismissed suggestions that Boeing Co's anti-dumping complaint would slow orders.

Cromer would not comment on the timing of orders, or expectations for Paris, which he said would serve to showcase new products.

Bombardier, however, sees replacement opportunities in the regional jet market as aging planes are retired and operators shift from 50 seaters to larger regional aircraft, Tucker said.

Mesa Air Group, a Phoenix-based regional airline which operates jets by Bombardier and rival Embraer SA, is considering the future of the CRJ-900s it ordered in the early 2000s.

"We are looking at a number of fleet replacement strategies as the aircrafts are getting older," said Mesa chief executive Jonathan Ornstein by phone last Thursday.