TORONTO - Bombardier Aerospace said Wednesday that it has a letter of intent with an unnamed airline that wants to buy up to 30 of its CSeries planes that could be valued at as much as US$2.08 billion based on list prices.
The airline, which wants its identity to remain confidential but is located in the Americas, would buy an initial 12 of the 100- to 125-seat planes with an option to acquire an additional 18.
"We are thrilled with the worldwide momentum of interest being shown for the CSeries aircraft program and we are pleased that customers in both our traditional aviation markets and growth markets are exploring opportunities and centring business cases around the use of the CSeries jetliners," said Mike Arcamone, president at Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
"As the CS100 aircraft readies for a milestone year of firsts, we look forward to welcoming yet another customer to the CSeries aircraft family. This customer selected the CS100 jetliners based on the flexibility and superior operational efficiencies offered only by the CSeries aircraft family."
As of Sept. 30, Bombardier had booked orders and commitments for 352 CSeries aircraft that include firm orders for 138 CSeries airliners from 14 customers.
Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) recently delayed the entry into service of the smaller CSeries aircraft to June 2014, followed by the larger CS300 by December 2014.
The company said the wings for the first CSeries flight test vehicle are being joined to the fuselage at the company's final assembly plant in Mirabel, Que, after having arrived from Bombardier Aerospace Belfast.
It said assembly was progressing smoothly ahead of the first flight scheduled for the end of June.
Meanwhile, the company confirmed it laid off nearly 100 of its 35,000 employees this fall to reduce expenses.
The layoffs were in Montreal, Toronto, Wichita, Kan., and Belfast, Northern Ireland, spokeswoman Sylvie Gauthier said Wednesday.
About 130 information consultants primarily in the Montreal area were also cut, she added, while about 100 IT employees have agreed to extend their Christmas vacation without pay.
In September, Bombardier's aerospace division announced a reduction in non-essential spending like travel, training and Christmas parties to save money.
The Montreal-based company is facing a cash flow challenge as it spends a lot of money on development projects for the CSeries, Learjet 85 and Global 7000 and 8000.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bombardier's shares closed up two cents at C$3.57 in Wednesday trading.
— With files from Sylvain Larocque
© Copyright 2013