Bombardier plans to meet with over a dozen potential new airline customers this week as it receives strong interest in its new CSeries jet from throughout the Middle East/North Africa region.
Bombardier launched the 110/130-seat CSeries last year with an order from Lufthansa. The manufacturer has not yet secured a Middle Eastern customer but Bombardier commercial aircraft President Gary Scott says "we're hoping to have a launch customer in the region soon".
Scott adds he is scheduled to meet "well over a dozen" airlines during the Dubai airshow this week and "most of the interest will be in the CSeries".
"We're talking to virtually every airline in the region," he says. "There is a lot interest in this aircraft in this region."
Scott says the CSeries is an "ideal" aircraft for the Middle East/North Africa region given its range, size and ability to operate out of hot and high airfields. He says overall there is strong interest from airlines in the region for Bombardier's entire commercial aircraft product line.
"This is a very important region for us. It's been and will continue to be one of the fastest growing regions in the world," Scott says.
Bombardier forecasts a market in the region for 870 aircraft of under 150 seats over the next 20 years. "Quite frankly it can be quite a bit higher than this," Scott says.
He adds a majority of the 870 aircraft will be jets and predicts the mix will be "weighed towards CSeries", which is scheduled to enter service in 2013. Bombardier says 160 of its aircraft, including 55 CRJs and 105 Dash 8 turboprops, are now in service or on order from operators in the Middle East/North Africa region.