American Airlines’ recent order for up to 100 Boeing 787s provided the weary airframer with a respite – albeit brief – from the near constant flow of negative news pertaining to the machinists’ strike and the potential that this industrial action will delay the twinjet’s delivery….again.
A nice firm CSeries order would also give a needed public relations boost to Bombardier, which has seen its shares struggle in the face of what the Globe and Mail rightly refers to as “the current climate of fear and uncertainty”.
I had a great chat today with Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski, who says Bombardier needs to get a firm CSeries order on the books in the not too distant future. Read the entire piece here, but the key quote is:
“I think they could probably go into next year without a firm order but not much more than early [next] year.”
In short, Bombardier cannot afford the blow to its image if an order remains outstanding for its geared turbofan (GTF) bird, which has been a paper airplane for years (one that this RWG would love to see fly).
So what about Lufthansa? The carrier in July inked a letter of interest for 30 CSeries aircraft, enabling Bombardier to formally launch the programme. Three months later and the German operator has not yet firmed the deal. Lufthansa has “no date yet when we will firm the CSeries order”, says a spokesman for the carrier.
In the same conversation, however, he reveals that Lufthansa is open to the possibility of ordering more 112-seat Embraer 195s. That’s in addition to the 12 E-195s on order plus 18 E-190s that may very well be converted to the larger-capacity type.
“We will decide on the remaining 18 [E-190] aircraft later on, if we want them as E-190s or E-195s. So in the end, we might get 30 E-195s,” says the spokesman.
And yes, Lufthansa believes there is room for both types in its fleet. “The CSeries aircraft has a capacity of 100-130 seats, which goes beyond the capacity of the E-190 family and thereby already caters to a different category. So we do not necessarily see too much interference.”
Okay, grand. So what’s the hold-up? Maybe Lufthansa is waiting for just the right moment. Personally, I can’t think of a better place and time then the Wings Club luncheon in New York City on 19 November.
That’s where Lufthansa chairman and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber will give his perspective “on a range of issues currently confronting the airline industry, including a weakened economy, the need for consolidation, changes in customer behaviours and the challenges and opportunities on Lufthansa’s horizon”, says the carrier in a press invite to the event.
Heck, it would be just in time for the US holiday of Thanksgiving…
(Photo care of Flightblogger…check out his photo stream on Flickr here)