EgyptAir, the national carrier of Egypt, has signed a deal with Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier for up to 24 C Series planes, most probably the CS300. The carrier has agreed to buy a minimum of 12 planes with the option to take an additional 12. The deal was signed at the Dubai Airshow, and the two parties hope to finalize the deal by the end of the year. If EgyptAir takes all 24 aircraft, the deal will be worth $2.2 billion before discounts.

“It would be difficult to wish for a better carrier to establish our presence in the region,” said Colin Bole, Senior Vice President Commercial Aerospace at Bombardier, in a conference call with reporters. “It’s a great template and it is something that will be followed extremely closely by the other carriers in the regions and the sub-regions in the area.”

“[This deal will] open a big market for Bombardier in the Middle East,” said Safwat Musallam, EgyptAir’s chairman. “Everybody knows that Egypt is the door to the Middle East.”

EgyptAir reports that the planes will be flown under the EgyptAir Express brand. EgyptAir Express is EgyptAir’s regional carrier. EgyptAir is hoping to be a launch operator of the CS300, which would entitle the carrier to discounts past what is normally given.

This is the second C Series deal struck in recent weeks. Bombardier revealed in early November that it secured a letter of intent from an undisclosed European customer for 31 aircraft. If secured, both deals will take the C Series to 400 orders.

The last firm order for C Series planes came in December 2016, when the Tanzanian government purchased two C Series planes; before then, the Air Canada had an order for 45 planes in June 2016.

This development comes after European aircraft manufacturer Airbus acquired a 50.01% stake in the C Series last month. Airbus bought the stake in response to American company Boeing’s claims that Bombardier received illegal subsidies from the governments of Canada and the UK. Musallam claims that this order has nothing to do with Airbus’s involvement with the program.

“We were going to buy [the planes] anyway,” Musallam said. “We undertook a thorough evaluation process of our fleet and realized that the CS300 would fit perfectly into our business plans and growth strategy. We started our process of analysis of the CS300 six or seven months ago, so this was well before the announcement between Airbus and Bombardier.”

Featured image by Bombardier

Categories: Industry Talk