Bombardier keeps the faith on CSeries

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Bombardier's self-imposed deadline to ink firm orders for its geared turbofan (GTF)-powered CSeries airliner passed unceremoniously on 31 January with no word from the Canadian airframer of a pending deal.

But the manufacturer remains steadfast in its belief that a letter of interest with Lufthansa for 30 firm orders will be finalized, and that the CSeries programme will progress.

"Our position hasn't changed," says Bombardier. "We continue to work with Lufthansa and are in detailed negotiations towards finalizing the contract. It is important to remember that both parties are working hard towards achieving the very same goal. That's not insignificant in that there is a sense of shared purpose."

Last week it appeared Bombardier was in a position to make good on its prediction that it would seal firm CSeries orders by the end of its fiscal year.

ATI sister publication Commercial Aviation Online understood that Lufthansa was poised to acquire the 110-seat version of the CSeries, and that Bombardier could also announce an operating lessor as a new customer for the CSeries.

While acknowledging that it did not seal a firm order by 31 January, the company is maintaining its timeline for the CSeries to make an entry-into-service (EIS) in 2013.

"Airlines still need to replace aircraft in 2013 and in the current financial situation it is understandable they are focused on short term issues rather than longer term fleet negotiations. Having said this, though, it doesn't change at all our goal of an entry in service in 2013," says Bombardier.

The firm adds: "There are additional announcements to be made with respect to the programme and that's all in due time."

The company today announced that reduced demand for business aircraft has prompted it to cut Learjet and Challenger production rates, and layoff 1,360 workers or 4.5% of its 30,000-strong workforce.

However, it assures in a statement that the CSeries programme is progressing well. "With continued growth expected in the medium- to long-term, the market needs new, innovative aircraft that provide operators with the optimized solution to meet their business objectives," says the firm.