Bombardier is at this year’s ALTA Airline Leaders Forum amid major transition as its flagship CSeries finds new momentum following a tentative deal to make Airbus a majority owner of the programme.
And as it forecasts the Latin American airline fleet in its market sector to almost double over the next 20 years, Bombardier is confident its commercial aircraft line-up can secure it a good slice of the business.
"The regional market – dictated by less than 1,000nm within the region – is a market that is robust. It's a market where we are seeing growth," says Bombardier's vice-president of sales in Latin America and the Caribbean Alex Glock. "Our products are very much in line to cater to this growth."
"The CSeries, of course, will provide the perfect platform for long and thin routes in the region," he adds.
Bombardier’s global market forecast focuses on the 60-150-seater sector, where 650 aircraft are currently operating in Latin America region, says Bombardier vice-president of marketing Patrick Baudis.
“We forecast that over the next 20 years, 1,050 new aircraft will be delivered and 400 will be retired, taking the fleet to 1,300 aircraft,” Baudis says.
Bombardier expects that Latin America deliveries will comprise 500 large regional aircraft seating 60 to 100 passengers, and 550 small single-aisles in the 100-to-150-seat category.
The Airbus CSeries tie-up was announced in October and calls for the European manufacturer to acquire 50.01% of the programme. The companies expect the agreement will close in the second half of 2018.
"The CSeries will benefit from the footprint of Airbus in [Latin America], which is vast and on a different market segment," Baudis tells FlightGlobal.
Airlines worldwide have placed firm orders for over 360 CSeries aircraft, but none have been announced from Latin American carriers. Airbus sits high in Latin America, where companies like Avianca Holdings, LATAM Airlines Group, Volaris and Interjet have made Airbus narrowbodies foundations of their fleets.
As Glock focuses on the here and now, he is “extremely optimistic that the underlying fundamentals are such that the region is rebounding” after many Latin American carriers had delayed fleet renewals amid broad economic malaise. He adds that Bombardier is well-positioned to benefit as the market recovers following a “strategic commercial effort that started three years ago” to grow its business in the region. This involved the setting up of local offices in Miami and Sao Paulo and reinforcing customer support.
Routes with the most opportunity in the region connect secondary cities to larger networks, says Glock.
"Connectivity is something that is the key for Latin American growth," he says. "You are now seeing regional infrastructure investments…. This is very important for this growth we see coming in the region."