Operating lessor LCI has joined Lufthansa as a customer for Bombardier's CSeries small airliner and is the first to sign up for the larger CS300 model.
The operating lessor signed a firm order for 20 CSeries - three CS100s and 17 CS300s - and took options on an additional 20 aircraft. The deal takes total firm commitments for the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-powered twinjet to 100 aircraft - 60 from Lufthansa and 40 from LCI.
LCI will take delivery of all three CS100s in the second quarter of 2014, while the CS300s will arrive between the first quarter 2015 and the end of 2016. The CS100 carries a $42.7 million list price while the CS300 is offered for $49.9 million.
The CSeries "stood out from the page" when compared with Airbus and Boeing products, says LCI chief executive Crispin Maunder. "It is an aircraft we can buy today instead of waiting for five or six years for Airbus and Boeing to come up with a successor."
Maunder says that "Boeing and Airbus, under pressure from airlines, have said they are looking at 737 and A320 replacements, possibly for the end of the next decade. That means these very mature aircraft programmes are in a replacement cycle, and that's a concern for an investor."
In an interview with Flight's Commercial Aviation Online, LCI's chief investment officer Tasos Michael says LCI has already lined up discussions with potential customers. "We have been talking in some detail with legacy carriers and low-cost carriers in Europe and the Far East and we feel there are no shortage of potential customers for this aircraft," he says.
"Some customers want a large number of aircraft, especially the low-cost carriers and potentially 20 might not be enough," Michael adds.