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Bombardier CSeries earns first firm order from Lufthansa

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Swiss-Cseries-LR-560.jpgIn what is the largest commercial aircraft order of 2009, Lufthansa firmed up an order for 30 CSeries aircraft plus 30 additional options for subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines.

Bombardier's first firm CSeries order comes after Lufthansa signed a letter of interest in July 2008 (live blog) at the Farnborough Air Show. Even though Lufthansa is the first airline to place a firm order for the CSeries, Swiss will not serve as the aircraft type's first operator.

The 110-seat CS100 aircraft will replace 20 Swiss BAe Avro RJ-100ER aircraft beginning in 2014 and configured with 115 seats. Entry into service of the CS100, which is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1000G engines, is scheduled for 2013. The engine selection was first announced on this blog at the Dubai Air Show in November 2007.

The order marks a bright spot in an otherwise troubled 2009 commercial aerospace market that has seen continued cuts in capacity, falling passenger and cargo traffic, as well as numerous aircraft order cancellations and deferrals.

cseries-interior.jpg The boost for the program comes a day after Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said, "[A CSeries order is in the freezer because we require certain conditions from Bombardier for us to consider the aircraft, for which they are not capitulating. So I think we'll have to forget about it if [Bombardier does] not respond."

Al Baker adds that his concerns cover "the whole deal", including both price and specifications of the aircraft. "If they oblige, maybe we will reconsider our decision," he adds.

Qatar Airways is interested in purchasing the 130-seat CS300 aircraft, the second CSeries variant, for regional operations out of its Doha hub.

The next step for Bombardier will be to sign a firm 2013 launch customer. Mongolian regional airline Eznis is currently the only other customer to have signed a letter of interest with Bombardier for seven CSeries aircraft.

The carrier has said it plans to firm the order in 2010.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Bombardier announced the re-designation of the twin CSeries variants. The 110-seat C110 has been re-branded the CS100 and the 130-seat C130 is now the CS300. The change is likely geared toward avoiding confusion with the C-130 Hercules, a multi-role military cargo aircraft.

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