Bombardier wins CRJ900 jet order from Irish carrier CityJet

The Canadian plane maker will deliver up to 10 of its jetliners to the Dublin-based carrier in a deal that could be worth up to $467m, giving a welcome boost to Bombardier.

A business jet comes in to land behind a Bombardier CRJ900 plane at Farnborough in southern England. Luke MacGregor / Reuters
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Bombardier and the Irish regional carrier Cityjet have signed a conditional purchase agreement for up to 10 CRJ900 aircraft from the Canadian plane maker.

The order is valued at approximately US$280 million and could increase to $467m at list prices should CityJet exercise all its options

Dublin-based airline has also confirmed its acquisition of the Danish carrier Cimber, a subsidiary of the Scandinavian airline SAS.

The Cimber acquisition also sees CityJet seal a six-year “wet lease” contract from SAS to operate regional services from Copenhagen.

CityJet will continue to operate Cimber’s network on behalf of SAS using Cimber’s current fleet of 11 CRJ900s.

Its current wet lease contract with SAS – where the Irish carrier provides aircraft and crew – will also be extended from three to six years.

The new Bombardier aircraft ordered by CityJet, whose executive chairman is founder Pat Byrne, will be used for wet lease services with SAS, and also to replace existing Cimber aircraft this year and in 2018.

Last year CityJet took delivery of its first five CRJ900s.

The total CRJ900 fleet – including those in service with Cimber – will increase to 23 this summer. The entire CRJ900 fleet owned by the CityJet group is operated exclusively on behalf of SAS, with all aircraft in SAS livery and crewed by CityJet staff.

"This new SAS contract and the growth delivered by the acquisition of Cimber advances CityJet's stated strategy of building its role as a provider of regional jet capacity to airlines across Europe and follows our successful inauguration of services on behalf of SAS in March 2016," Mr Byrne told the Irish Independent newspaper.

Bombardier is now negotiating a $1 billion injection from Canada’s federal government, after ballooning costs from two aircraft developments forced it to consider bankruptcy in 2015.

The lifeline for Bombardier’s CSeries jet could indirectly lead to unfair pricing in the battle for smaller turboprops, the rival turboprop maker ATR said this week, where ATR mainly competes with Bombardier’s Q400 propeller plane.

Bombardier denied it was involved in any unfair pricing.

ATR, which is half-owned by the European plane maker Airbus and half by Italy’s Leonardo, earlier said its orders dropped by more than half in 2016, while deliveries fell 9 per cent.

* with agencies

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