Bombardier says the conditional order for six Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen regional jets and options on an additional five will build upon China Express Airlines'...

Bombardier Aerospace has identified China Express Airlines as the undisclosed Chinese customer which placed a previously announced CRJ900 NextGen order on October 26, 2011.

According to Bombardier, the conditional order for six Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen regional jets and options on an additional five will build upon China Express Airlines’ existing fleet of CRJ200s, serving to enhance the airline’s regional network.

The disclosure was one of several announcements made at the Canada China Business Forum held on February 9 in Beijing, with Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister, and Pierre Beaudoin, president and chief executive officer of Bombardier Inc., in attendance.

On February 9, 2012, Bombardier Aerospace revealed that China Express Airlines was the previously undisclosed customer for a conditional order for six CRJ900 NextGen regional jets and had taken options on an additional five

Another announcement made at the Forum was the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Bombardier Aerospace and China’s AVIC International Leasing Co., Ltd. for expanded co-operation to support the financing of commercial aircraft sales in China and globally.

Based on list price, a firm order from China Express Airlines for the six CRJ900 NextGens would be valued at approximately US $264 million at list prices. Should all five options be converted to firm orders, the value of the contract would increase to US$491 million at list prices.

“Our 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets have served us very well since we started operations in 2006, and we are confident that the CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, which offers excellent economics, will support the growing capacity demand on our larger routes,” said Hu Xiaojun, chairman of China Express.

“As the only aircraft manufacturer with three distinct and optimized families of aircraft in the 60-to-149-seat market segment, Bombardier is well positioned to support the growth of China’s air transport network, and we are delighted that China Express has selected the CRJ900 NextGen aircraft for its operations,” said Andy Solem, vice president of sales for China and North Asia for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The CRJ Series aircraft is the best-selling regional aircraft program in history, and we look forward to welcoming many more operators in China.”

China Express Airlines, which is China’s first private regional airline, is based in Guiyang in Guizhou province and currently provides regional passenger services with its fleet of five Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets.

More than 80 Bombardier-produced aircraft, including CRJ-series and Q-series commercial aircraft, as well as Learjet, Challenger and Global business jets, are currently operating in China.

Bombardier predicts that over the next 20 years, China’s fleet of commercial aircraft will grow as it becomes the world’s second-largest market for new aircraft deliveries, following closely behind the United States. Bombardier forecasts a demand for almost 2,400 commercial aircraft in the 60-to-149-seat segment in China and says it is working closely with local airlines, suppliers and stakeholders to assist in fleet and infrastructure expansion.

The Canadian manufacturer has recorded firm orders for 1,709 CRJ-series aircraft (including 266 Bombardier CRJ900s and CRJ900 NextGens), with 1,661 CRJ-series aircraft (including 256 CRJ900s and CRJ900 NextGens) delivered as of December 31, 2011.