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Air Canada finalises deal for up to 75 CS300s

Five days after the Canadian parliament cleared a legal obstacle, Air Canada has finalised a firm order with Bombardier for 45 CS300s, including options to buy 30 more.

The order completes a six-month turn-around for the CSeries order backlog, which is now at 370 overall for the CS300 and CS100 variants combined. It also resolves a four-year-old legal dispute for Air Canada, which secured an agreement with the government of Quebec to drop litigation in return for the CSeries order and the promise to establish a maintenance centre of excellence in the province.

On 23 June, the Canadian Senate followed the House of Commons in passing an amendment to the 1988 Public Participation Act, allowing Air Canada to keep maintenance and overhaul centres in each of three provinces — Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec — rather than specific cities. Air Canada had threatened to walk away from the CSeries order if the Senate rejected the amendment.

“Finalising the CS300 order is a key element to Air Canada's strategy to build one of the world's youngest and most fuel efficient fleets," says Air Canada president and chief executive Calin Rovinescu.

Although Air Canada made the legislation a requirement to finalising the deal, the Star Alliance carrier also insists the CS300’s range and capacity make it an ideal fit in the carrier’s internal and trans-border route networks.

When the Air Canada order was announced last February, Bombardier had not received a new firm order for the CSeries in more than 17 months. Within 10 weeks of signing the Air Canada deal, Bombardier also received new orders from AirBaltic for seven CS300s and from Delta Air Lines for 75 CS100s.

In addition to the CSeries’ performance promises, Bombardier also offered generous pricing terms. In April, Bombardier announced it would record a $500 million non-cash “onerous” provision, due to loss-making contracts on the last three deals for the CSeries. At the same time, the contracts helped to fill the early production skyline for the CSeries programme.

"This order is a major statement of support for Canada's aerospace industry and will help support thousands of CSeries related jobs," says Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare. "It also serves as an important catalyst for renewed interest and subsequent orders."

The CS100 is scheduled to enter service with Swiss International Air Lines on 15 July with a flight from Zurich to Paris. Certification of the CS300 variant is expected in the third quarter, with entry into service with AirBaltic following in the fourth quarter.

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