Lufthansa's CSeries discussions with Bombardier advance

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Lufthansa's negotiations with Bombardier concerning the firming up of orders for 30 geared turbofan (GTF)-powered CSeries aircraft "have advanced pretty well" the German carrier's chairman and CEO says.

Bombardier in July officially launched the CSeries with a letter of intent from Lufthansa for 30 firm orders and 30 options.

Speaking yesterday at the Wings Club in New York, Lufthansa CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber noted that the 110/130-seat aircraft "will fit nicely" between regional jets and the next single-aisle aircraft that will eventually be developed by major airframers.

Mayrhuber believes the successor to the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737 narrowbody aircraft "will probably be bigger" than current day offerings.

Lufthansa currently operates a total of 98 Airbus A320 family aircraft and 63 Boeing 737-300s/500s, according to Flight's ACAS database.

Its Lufthansa Cityline subsidiary operates a vast CRJ fleet comprising 22 50-seat aircraft, 20 CRJ700s and 12 CRJ900s. But the carrier recently announced plans to cut 14 of its CRJ200s and 20% of its 2,500 workforce by 2010 in attempt to drive down its cost base.

As Lufthansa prepares to firm up its CSeries order, the airline is also considering converting its 30-aircraft order with Bombardier rival Embraer to larger 112-seat E-195s from the smaller 100-seat E-190. Lufthansa recently converted 12 of those orders to E-195s. It plans to start taking delivery of the aircraft next year.

The carrier also is not ruling out adding more E-190 family aircraft to its fleet in the future but in the short term says it "is not a current issue".