When Bombardier launched the geared turbofan-powered CSeries at Farnborough with a letter of interest from Lufthansa for 60 aircraft, the industry raised a collective eyebrow. Hadn't the manufacturer said it needed 50 to 100 firm orders to kick start the programme?
And when Lufthansa followed up the announcement by saying that it will not be the actual launch operator for the CSeries, but instead "will be among the first operators", some folks wondered whether Bombardier had pressed the European giant for a public vote of confidence in order to save face at the air show and spur further interest.
Whatever Bombardier's reasons, it now appears that potential customers might very well be ready to seal some deals (maybe in time for NBAA??).
An industry source has indicated to CAO that a 100-plus aircraft order is forthcoming and that all launch customer positions for the CSeries have been allocated. Another source tells CAO to keep an eye out for a 40-aircraft order from a leasing company.
Now that's more like it. But who are these anonymous customers?
A separate source says it's not Northwest Airlines. "They are still on hold due to the Delta merger, but still interested."
Okay, friend. What about the leasing giants? "I wonder if Wexford might be the lessor - just speculating - they had ordered the E-Series, so why not the C-Series," he says.
Obviously, the CSeries could attract orders from Chinese carriers. China's AVIC I is to build the centre fuselage of the CSeries. And you'll recall that China Southern and Shanghai Airlines were circulated as prospective buyers for the 110/130-seater.
Meanwhile, Bombardier is about a month away from beginning what it calls the joint conceptual definition phase for the CSeries, reports Aviation Daily. The group will include teams from all the programme's major suppliers, who will in effect work as an in-house development team with the Canadian manufacturer, adds the publication.
Oh yeah, and Bombardier has just posted a fiscal second quarter net profit of $246 million. Cooking with gas, as they say...