As CSeries flounders, Bombardier’s Q-Series planes are selling like hot cakes

Expanding discount airlines in developing markets mean big business for Bombardier

Bombardier's Q-400 plane (Bombardier)

Bombardier’s Q-400 plane (Bombardier)

Sometimes it feels like Bombardier’s CSeries has suffered more false starts than a new Toronto subway line. But while the sexy CSeries flounders, its homely cousin the Q-Series (a 70-seat turboprop jet) has been selling briskly in developing markets where discount airlines are proliferating. In February, RwandAir became the 15th African airline to use a Q-400, while Kazakhstan ordered 10 for a new national carrier.

READ: Bombardier’s CSeries problem in one chart >>

Bombardier’s turboprop sales are still lagging behind European rival ATR, but two things are working in the Canadians’ favour. First, Bombardier has released a new higher-capacity Q-400, which will seat 86. (Thailand’s Nok Air and Abu Dhabi–based Falcon Aviation Services were the first to get on-board, ordering 10 of the aircraft between them.) Second, Bombardier last year made a tentative deal with Rostec, a Russian state-owned manufacturer, to begin an assembly line in that country, which would include an order for up to 100 new Q-400s. The deal would be worth billions and could lock out ATR from that fast-growing market. While the turmoil in Ukraine and the threat of Western sanctions have raised some uncertainty, if Bombardier is able to navigate the geopolitics, the Q-Series will fly high in 2014.

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4 comments on “As CSeries flounders, Bombardier’s Q-Series planes are selling like hot cakes

  1. The CSeries is not “floundering.” It has more than 200 firm orders. plus 169 options and rights. Yes, the test program is late by 18 months, mostly because of the complex software. Bombardier has said repeatedly it is confident of reaching its target of 300 firm orders by entry-in-service, in the second half of 2015.

    The CSeries is a smaller, more modern plane, than the Airbus A320 Neo and Boeing 737 Max to which the general media is often inappropriatedley comparing it

    Air Canada is due to make a decision about the CSeries in the coming months, as it needs a plane of this size to complement its recent order of Boeing 737 Max. If AC does buy the CSeries, it will be a major boost to the program. If it chooses a smaller Embraer aircraft, then Bombardier will have been betrayed by the home team. This would be a serious setback. Can we imagine a brazilian air carrier choosing the CSeries over the Embraer E195-E2?

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