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Bombardier and Qatar back on track after Pratt spat

After Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker threw cold water on a potential CSeries purchase at the Farnborough Air Show due to engine maintenance costs for Pratt & Whitney's PW1524G, one of Bombardier's top commercial executives now says the prolonged order negotiations are back on track.

The frenetic pace of July's international air show does not "do justice to the complexity of buying an airplane", says Bombardier vice president for commercial aircraft programmes Ben Boehm. "Bombardier is in no way concerned about whether or not there is a maintenance cost issue on the engine." .

He adds Bombardier is "still very confident that Qatar, Pratt and ourselves are going to come to an amicable agreement sometime in the future".

Al Baker, who has used his prominent position in the industry to publicly discuss the nuances of order negotiations, said at the Farnborough air show maintenance cost on the aircraft's twin engines remained a sticking point. P&W has touted a 20% maintenance cost savings over current engines, due to its cooler-running hot section, which has fewer parts.

"If the airframe delivers everything we want but the maintenance costs on the engine will be higher than what we want to pay, then we have an issue," said Al Baker. "So until we tie up the whole package as one deal, Qatar does not order the aircraft."

"We don't see these as things you should be negotiating in the public realm," says Boehm. "I think what you should take away from it is that every time they talk about it in public, that should give an indication that we're still talking, between Qatar and ourselves, which is a great thing."

Bohem says the programme remains on track for its order forecast with 90 firm orders and 90 options for the 110 to 149-seat jetliner, and adds one or more orders is still expected before the close of 2010.

The CS100, the smaller of the two planned CSeries variants, is scheduled to enter service with a yet to be determined launch customer in 2013.

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