Bombardier Commercial Aircraft and Air Canada have signed a letter of intent (LOI) for the acquisition of up to 75 CS300 aircraft. The deal, which is expected to be firmed up “shortly”, consists of 45 firm orders – valued at approximately $3.8 billion – plus 30 purchase options. The latter also includes conversion rights for the smaller CS100 variant. Bombardier says deliveries to the Canadian flag carrier are scheduled to start in 2019.
At a press conference in Saint-Laurent on February 17, Air Canada’s President and CEO Calin Rovinescu remarked: “We’ve been carefully assessing the capabilities of the C Series and its progress for some time, and today we are pleased to announce an agreement to acquire the CS300 for our mainline fleet. The C Series will be a key element of our ongoing fleet renewal, which will result in Air Canada operating one of the worlds youngest and most fuel efficient fleets. With its optimal mainline performance range, superior economics and greater seating capacity, the Canadian-built airliner will allow us to compete more effectively, providing increased point-to-point service to domestic and transborder markets, as well as feeding our network.
Bombardier President Fred Cromer said the manufacturer was “thrilled” with the deal. He added: “A landmark order from a marquee and iconic customer like Air Canada is a very significant strategic marker for the C Series aircraft programme and we’re looking forward to further strengthening a relationship that spans 30 years.”
However, it wasn’t all good news for Bombardier, which also announced its would axe 5,000 employees and 2,000 contractors from its 64,000-strong global workforce over the next two years. The Montreal-based aerospace and transport company says cuts will start almost immediately and run through to 2017. One of the hardest hit will be the company’s Northern Ireland operation which will lose more than 1,000 positions, equivalent to around 20% of its local workforce. This includes 580 jobs this year and a further 500 in 2017.