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CRJ business sluggish as Q400 sees uptick

Bombardier failed to secure CRJ orders in the three months ended 31 January, underlining the impact of the global economic slump on the Canadian airframer's regional jets.

In its latest programme status update, Bombardier reports a total backlog of 146 CRJs - 55 CRJ900s, 46 CRJ700s and 45 CRJ1000s - as of 31 January, which marks the end of its fiscal fourth quarter.

This compares to a backlog of 165 CRJs at 31 October 2008. During the three-month period, Bombardier delivered 19 CRJs to customers.

At the same time, the Canadian airframer saw an increase in its Q Series backlog, listing a total 120 turboprops - including 114 for its largest model, the Q400 - at 31 January versus a backlog of 113 at 31 October. Bombardier delivered a total of 18 Q Series turboprops during the fiscal fourth quarter.

Contributing to the uptick was an order for 15 Q400s by Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary Colgan Air.

On 12 February, a Colgan Q400, operating a Continental Connection service, crashed into a house while on approach to Buffalo, New York. All 49 individuals on board and one person on the ground were killed.

Just prior to the crash, Bombardier announced plans to boost production of its Q400.

Although the airframer did not detail its exact production rate for the Q400 in FY2009/10, it said it anticipates output to be similar to FY2007/08 when Bombardier delivered 47 Q400s.By comparison, the company delivered 43 Q400s for FY2008/09.

Overall, Bombardier is forecasting total aircraft deliveries for FY2009/10 to be "slightly less" than FY2008/09, with about 10% fewer business aircraft, and about 10% more commercial aircraft.

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