ALTA: Bombardier bids to boost Latin American presence

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Bombardier is represented at ALTA as it pursues its goal of an expanded footprint in Latin America.

Used CRJ200s have entered service with Venezuela's Costa Airlines during the past year, but the Canadian airframer has not snagged any new orders from the region.

"You get the second-hand market [now] and you can seed the market," says Kevin Smith, Bombardier's vice-president for commercial aircraft sales in the Americas. "They’re going to grow up and need new aircraft."

These could include larger regional jets, such as the CRJ900 or CRJ1000, as well as Q400 turboprops or new CSeries narrowbodies.

Fabricio Cojuc, chief planning and commercial officer at Aeromar, says the next addition to the carrier’s fleet is likely to be 70- to 90-seat regional jets, but it has no firm plans yet.

The Mexico City-based carrier operates two CRJ200s and is in talks to buy a third, he says.

Bombardier is in talks with airlines across the region regarding potential orders but has nothing in advanced stages, says Smith. He adds that the large airlines in Latin America all have mixed fleets, which forces Bombardier to wait for an opening when a carrier decides to replace part of their inventory.

Smith is still bullish on the airframer’s prospects.

"The CSeries has great potential in Latin America," he says, adding that its size, range and performance make it "ideal" to replace the region’s Airbus A318s, Embraer 190s and Fokker 100s.

Avianca is understood to be seeking a replacement for its 24 A318s, a variant that Airbus is not including in its updated A320neo line. Smith confirms that Bombardier is in talks with the Colombian airline group but declines to comment further.

The Q400 turboprop is also "ideal" for Latin America despite ATR's current lead in the region, argues Smith. "The market is just starting," he says on the European airframer’s market share, adding that Bombardier has half of the global turboprop market.

The Q400 would be a good replacement for Aeromexico Connect’s 31 Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets, he says, adding again that Bombardier is in talks with the carrier.