Bombardier targets operating lessors to take half of all CSeries orders

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Bombardier has been in Dublin this week courting the aviation finance community, which had gathered in Dublin for a finance conference, and has set its sights on selling up to half of its CSeries orders from operating lessors.

The airframer's 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 a lessor - Ireland-based 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.

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 © Flightglobal/Tim Bicheno-Brown

However, in the near term, as Bombardier seeks to boost its CSeries orderbook, Scott concedes that it faces a challenge signing up the industry's two leading lessors - GE Commercial Aviation Services and International Lease Finance. The former generally only buys aircraft powered by GE 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. He concedes that the fact it is P&W rather than GE-powered means he faces "a bigger challenge". With P&W not having a financial/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 "trouble with mothership 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 it intent to order the aircraft.