CSeries talks 'in the freezer': Qatar Airways

By Max Kingsley-Jones

Bombardier looks to have missed the opportunity to land a key second major airline customer for the CSeries after failing to conclude a launch deal with Qatar Airways.

The airline has been seen as a serious prospective client for the new 110/130-seat Pratt & Whitney PW1000G GTF geared turbofan-powered twinjet since the programme launch at Farnborough last July when Lufthansa signed a letter of interest for up to 60 aircraft.

However, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker says talks about a potential deal have now ended. "It is in the freezer because we require certain conditions from Bombardier for us to consider the aircraft, for which they are not capitulating. So I think we'll have to forget about it if they do not respond," he explains.

© Bombardier

Al Baker says the issues cover "the whole deal", including both price and specifications of the aircraft. "If they oblige, maybe we will reconsider our decision," he adds.

Although the launch version of the CSeries is the baseline 110-seat variant, which is notionally due to enter service in 2013, Qatar Airways had been interested in the larger 130-seater, which would be the second variant to be developed.

Qatar Airways' short-haul fleet is centred around the Airbus A320 family. It flies 22 A319s, A320s and A321s and has a further six on order.

Observers see the loss of a potential order from Qatar Airways would be a serious blow for the programme, as the only other serious customer candidates beyond Lufthansa is Mongolian regional airline Eznis Airways (which has a letter of interest for seven CSeries) and an unnamed operating lessor that is understood to be in talks for 20 aircraft.

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