EgyptAir Is Said to Plot Makeover With Deals for 787, C Series

By: | at 07:11 PM | Air Cargo  

EgyptAir Airlines Co. is poised to expand its fleet with a flurry of deals for long-range and short-haul aircraft, including a $1.1 billion order for Bombardier Inc’s C Series jets, people familiar with the matter said.

The Cairo-based company is expected to announce a firm order for 12 CS300 jets as early as Tuesday at the Dubai Air Show, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. The airline is mulling acquiring options to buy another dozen of the single-aisle planes, said one of the people.

EgyptAir is expected to unveil a deal for at least six of Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliners, the first passenger jets made from strands of carbon fiber, said people familiar with the discussions. Airbus SE has also been in talks to secure a commitment for its A320neo single-aisle jetliners, the people said. Representatives of the airline, Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier declined to comment.

The shopping spree, following months of negotiations, marks an expansion push for Egypt’s flag carrier after it weathered slumping tourist visits and a fatal crash last year. Egypt Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said last month that the government expected to pay about $3.3 billion of the cost to acquire 45 planes.

The deal is especially significant for Bombardier, which gains another customer for its new jet less than a month after the company agreed to cede control of the C Series to Airbus in exchange for the European planemaker’s marketing heft and manufacturing expertise. The aircraft had been plagued by delays and cost overruns, and recently was hit with 300 percent tariffs in the U.S. after a trade complaint by Boeing Co.

Bombardier Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare told analysts two weeks ago that he expected sales of the C Series would accelerate following the deal with Airbus. Its presence is “adding confidence about the long-term success of the program,” he said Nov. 2.

That same day, Montreal-based Bombardier said an unidentified European customer was planning to buy 31 C Series aircraft with options for 30 more. Bombardier hasn’t sealed a major purchase since Delta Air Lines Inc. ordered 75 planes in April of last year.

Heavy Discounts

The CS300 carries a list price of $89.5 million, although discounts of 50 percent or more are common in the industry. The jet, the larger of two C Series versions, can carry 130 to 160 passengers.

Airbus has vowed to cut the aircraft’s production costs and secure thousands of new orders for the C Series, which Bombardier spent more than $6 billion to develop. The C Series was two-and-a-half years late and more than $2 billion over budget when it entered service at Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Swiss International unit in July 2016. Swiss and Air Baltic Corp., which began flying the CS300 in December, have reported better-than-expected fuel efficiency, which is key to the jet’s appeal.


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