Moscow-based leasing company Ilyushin Finance Co. has signed a purchase agreement to acquire 32 Bombardier CS300 jets and has taken options on an additional 10.
The order, which follows a letter of intent signed by Ilyushin Finance Co. (IFC) in 2011, is subject to approval by the company’s shareholders.
A signing ceremony to commemorate the agreement was held on February 20 during a visit by IFC and Russian dignitaries to the final assembly facility for the Bombardier CSeries family at Mirabel Airport near Montréal in Quebec.
Based on the list price for the Bombardier CS300, the manufacturer values a firm order from IFC for 32 aircraft at approximately US$2.56 billion. Should IFC also exercise its 10 options, the contract would have a total value of approximately US$3.42 billion.
“The aircraft leasing world is changing rapidly,” said Alexander Rubtsov, director general of IFC. “As older, less efficient designs present ongoing challenges to airlines – given high fuel costs and heightened environmental concerns -– the CSeries aircraft offers transcontinental range, superior field and runway performance, and a superb cabin that will bring air transport into the 21st century.”
Rubtsov also noted that IFC’s order for the CSeries jetliners is its first large order for non-Russian aircraft. Rubtsov said that, in terms of capacity and performance, the CS300 is ideally placed between the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and the Irkut MS-21 160-seat-plus jet, both of which IFC has committed to order.
“This is a landmark opportunity for Bombardier Aerospace and its CSeries aircraft,” said Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The CSeries aircraft was tailor-made for operation in this vast region and has the potential to offer a step-change in air travel in Russia and throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States.”
Currently, 95 Bombardier CRJ-series regional jets and Bombardier Dash 8/Q-Series turboprop regional airliners are in service or on order for customers in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
In addition, the Montréal-headquartered manufacturer says it is also exploring opportunities for the Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop in Russia.
As of December 31, 2012, Bombardier had booked orders and commitments for 382 CSeries jets. These included firm orders for 148 CSeries airliners. Should the company’s shareholders approve the deal, IFC’s order will increase firm orders for the CSeries to 180 aircraft.
In other good news for Bombardier on February 20, national airworthiness regulator Transport Canada awarded type certification for the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1500G geared turbofan engine, which is the sole powerplant choice for the CSeries family.
The type certification means Bombardier can proceed with flight-testing of the CSeries. The first CSeries aircraft, a Bombardier CS100, is due to make its first flight in the late spring or early summer of 2013. The CS100 will be powered by the PW1521G and the larger CS300 by the more powerful PW1524G.
Pratt & Whitney has conducted more than 4,000 hours of engine testing since the initial engine began testing in September 2010. The PW1500G engine test program included 340 hours of flight testing on P&W’s Boeing 747SP flight-test aircraft.
“Certification of the PW1500G engine is a significant milestone and a critical step in supporting the progressive transfer of the first CSeries flight test vehicle to the flight test program,” said Rob Dewar, vice president and general manager, CSeries for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
“We are very pleased with the engine’s performance and the overall, steady progress of the CSeries aircraft program,” Dewar added. “We have met a number of key milestones over the last few months, accepted the first pair of PW1500G propulsion systems and are in the process of completing final assembly of the first CSeries flight test aircraft.”
“We have successfully demonstrated the durability and game-changing performance of our Geared Turbofan engine architecture,” said Bob Saia, vice president, Next Generation Product Family for Pratt & Whitney.
“To date we have conducted over 9,000 hours of testing on our Fan Drive Gear System, demonstrating the service readiness of our gearbox,” said Saia. “We have also validated the improvement in fuel efficiency and noise reduction that we targeted in 2007, when we launched the PurePower PW1500G program.”
The PW1500G engines were type-certified through Transport Canada by Pratt & Whitney Canada and are assembled at Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Mirabel Aerospace Centre in Mirabel, near the CSeries final assembly line.