Bombardier aiming half of all CSeries orders at lessors

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Bombardier has set its sights on selling up to half of its CSeries orders to operating lessors.

The Canadian airframer has been courting the aviation finance community in Dublin this week. Commercial Aircraft division president Gary Scott says that, as Bombardier's general policy is not to provide manufacturer finance, it is "really important for us to work with the other three sources of airliner finance - lessors, banks and export credit agencies".

Scott adds that Bombardier "expects to sell up to 50% of all CSeries to leasing companies, because that is basically the model that is in the industry today".

One of the two customers for the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-powered CSeries confirmed so far is Irish-based lessor LCI, which has 20 firm orders and 20 options, and Scott says Bombardier is talking to "virtually all" the world's leasing companies about the aircraft.

However, in the near term, as Bombardier seeks to boost its CSeries order book, Scott concedes that it faces a challenge signing up the industry's two leading lessors, GECAS and ILFC. The former generally only buys aircraft powered by General Electric engines, while the latter is absent from the market due to the financing problems being suffered by its parent, US insurance giant AIG.

Scott does not rule out selling the CSeries to GECAS but concedes that its P&W engines mean he faces "a bigger challenge". With P&W not having a financial or leasing arm of the size of GECAS to support the CSeries, Scott says Bombardier will have to work with the other lessors "to make sure we have everything that 'a GECAS' would bring".

Scott says that, before ILFC's problems with AIG, the lessor had been "publicly vocal" about its interest in the CSeries and he is hopeful the company will become a CSeries customer "once they re-invent themselves".

In the near term, the next likely CSeries lessor customer is Hong Kong International Aviation, which has already announced its intent to order the aircraft.