Regional aircraft net orders in deficit for third quarter

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Regional aircraft sales hit the buffers in the third quarter, with the three main players' combined net order tally amounting to a deficit of four airframes.

In overall terms, the order tally for the first nine months is almost on a par with last year, at 61 net, compared with 2008's figure of 65. However, most of these are for the new Bombardier CSeries twin-jet, for which the manufacturer signed up launch orders in the first quarter.

During its fiscal third quarter, to 31 October, the airframer secured just one net order for its jet and turboprop products - a single Q400. The 22 orders from American Eagle for CRJ700s announced earlier this month will come through in its final quarter total.

Embraer's 2009 orderbook to the end of September remained in deficit, largely because of the cancellation of 25 ERJ-145s on order from China. It also suffered E-Jet cancellations in the third quarter, putting its overall net order tally at minus five.

While ATR recorded no new orders in the third quarter, Embraer's increasing order deficit skewed the totals so that at the nine-month point, turboprop net orders outstrip those for jets - 35 against 26.

Overall regional aircraft output during the first nine months has declined by 5% compared with 2008, to 213 units. However, turboprop deliveries are up slightly on last year - 75 against 71 - while deliveries of regional jets have fallen more than 10% to 138 units.

Embraer leads the field, having delivered four short of 100 aircraft during the period, although this total is down almost one-fifth on 2008.

Bombardier has seen a year-on-year growth in output, delivering a combined 86 CRJ and Q-series aircraft, a rise of 18%. ATR deliveries dipped slightly, from 35 in 2008 to 31 this year.

Over the three months since the half-year, the combined backlog has fallen by 24 units to 755 aircraft. Embraer is still in charge with a 41% market share.