Bombardier does not expect a US carrier to launch its proposed 110/130-seat CSeries due to the current turmoil in the US air transport industry.
In the long-term the USA represents "huge potential" for the CSeries "but because of what is going on in the USA, we do not expect to have a US launch customer", says Pierre Beaudoin, who today succeeded his father Laurent Beaudoin as president and CEO of Bombardier.
Northwest Airlines has long been considered a leading candidate to make a CSeries order that would formally launch the programme.
The carrier, which recently announced plans to cut capacity by 5% in September, today confirmed it is reviewing its capacity requirements in light of unprecedented fuel prices. But names of other possible CSeries customers have surfaced in reports, including Lufthansa and Qatar Airways.
Analyst Jacques Kavafian of Research Capital last week predicted that China Southern Airlines will order 50 of the type, and that the deal will be a portion of the over 200 orders expected to be won by Bombardier at the Farnborough air show in July.
Asked to specifically address Kavafian’s report, Beaudoin said during an earnings conference call today that the airframer is having discussions with various Chinese customers but has nothing to announce at this time. An order from China Southern has not been struck, he adds.
Bombardier will decide this year whether to launch the CSeries, which is expected to enter service in 2013. Beaudoin says a Farnborough announcement would be "a nice to have".