Bombardier scores huge deal at Russian air show

Bombardier scored a huge deal at the Russian air show, MAKS, with a letter of intent for an order for up to 100 Q400 turbo-props.

The Q400 has been trailing rival ATR, which is half owned by Airbus parent EADS, for the ATR-72 turbo-prop, by a wide margin in recent sales. ATR recently obtained third-world, gravel runway certification for its airplane.

The BBD deal includes the potential of establishing a second Q400 assembly line in Russia. The BBD deal is for 50+50 and isn’t expected to be completed until next year.

Bombardier has been making a major effort in Russia, placing used CRJ regional jets there, previous orders for the Q400 and an order for 32 CSeries. It’s also signed an agreement to explore customer support services for the Irkut MC-21 150-212 seat mainline jet.

Other MAKS news:

  • Russia’s own Sukhoi announced orders for the Superjet, with 100 going to home-grown lessor Ilyushin Finance Corp.
  • Russia’s VEB Leasing converted an MOU for 20 MC-21s to a firm order. These are for lease to UTAir and Transaero.
  • Airbus, Boeing and Embraer have yet to announce any deals.
  • This is the first air show since the Soviet Union collapsed.

22 Comments on “Bombardier scores huge deal at Russian air show

    • I was just going to say that – MAKS never even happened officially before the USSR collapsed?

  1. “This is the first air show since the Soviet Union collapsed.”
    Not really, I’ve been to maks in 2009 for business
    the business with occidental companies with exhibitions, booths, ….was at the early beginning in comparison with Paris, farnborough, Berlin.

  2. There is no deal, so nobody has scored anything so far. Both parties have only signed an agreement to continue negociating a possible deal.

    Everything still seems to be debated with the Russian government. The deal could still take years, or fall apart.

    The huge number in the press release seems mainly intended to draw attention from the press.

  3. Indeed, I do not see what the deal is for BBD. And if there was a deal, a what cost would this come? I wonder how viable an assembly line would be for 100 aircraft.

  4. Illushyn Finance is something strange. They have ordered lots of Russian build aircraft. It appears that it is a body of the state to order surplus aircraft. I consider an order by Illushyn Finance nothing more than a gesture.

    • We’d ordinarily agree but Boeing changed the standard when it boasted about 1,000 “commitments” for the 737 MAX before these started becoming orders. So what’s OK for Boeing is OK for BBD and everyone else.

      • In this case, the LoI is not primarily about an aircraft sale, it’s about an industrial investment. It is a thorny issue with the Russian government deeply involved. This is very similar to some defense deals in which technology transfers and offsets are required.

        I imagine BBD explaining that they cannot commit to such an investment without firm sales and a (Canadian) government funding/sovereign risk insurance … I can see the Russian lessor explaining that the sales would come, but progressively …

        I don’t think you can compare this project to commercial deals in the making, like “commitments” for the MAX, which in retrospect have proved themselves pretty reliable.

      • What we should not do, in my opinion, is add up firm orders MOUs/LoiS into a meaningless total. We can however comment on anything we find of interest.

        Westjet’s choice never was a mystery. As regards Spice Jet, I would wait for a firm order in spite of rumors giving the deal to Airbus.

    • Although it didn’t engage in a formal bidding process, the Calgary-base airline said it looked at the CSeries and A320.

      “At the end of the day, the piece that excited us about the Boeing MAX is the commonality with what we have today,” spokesman Robert Palmer said in an interview.

      Despite being powered by new CFM engines, the MAX will have a 70 per cent commonality with WestJet’s existing 737 Next Generation fleet, which will save on training for pilots, flight attendants and mechanics. The airline plans to maintain its single seating class with three rows of premium economy seating.
      Read more at,-c#trBSVXx5fx1Rjr4z.99

      Commonality shouldn’t be underestimated when selecting a new aircraft.

      • 70%
        Is this the first time we get an inkling of the expected commonality for the MAX in relation to the NG ?

  5. In the strict sense commonality is not the correct phrase. The Canadian press here are emphasising that the MAX was bought without bidding because West Jet was desperate to convert its later deliveries of standard 737’s to more efficient aircraft. Neither Bombardier or Airbus were willing to assume the risk of placing ‘old-design’ 737’s just to get a new customer.

    • I don’t have the same reading. Conversion of some of existing NG orders to MAX was indeed part of the deal, but what the spokesman emphasised is is that Westjet will have to operate a mix of NGs and MAX, and that commonality between both subtypes allows savings on maintenance and pilot training … That was a double and decisive advantage for the MAX.

  6. Philidor:

    You may well be right but I was referring to the Canadian business press noting the ability to get rid of some unwanted NG’ slated to arrive prior to 2020. Not mentioned before but West Jet is crowing over its ability to pack in more seats and so increase its per aircraft profit – which I suspect it what all this is about. Any chance of Airbus getting selected by West Jet was discounted long (decades?) ago because, as you say, of the publicly stated advantages of airframe commonality. There was even some surprise that they chose Q400’s rather than the tiniest 737 around!

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