By Alexander Cornwell and Allison Lampert
DUBAI/MONTREAL, Nov 14 (Reuters) - State-owned EgyptAir on Tuesday signed an initial order for 12 Bombardier CSeries jets, marking the Canadian plane maker’s second deal for its largest planes this month - agreements that end an 18-month drought of no sales of the aircraft. The two orders, the other for 31 aircraft from an undisclosed European buyer, are expected to be finalized by the end of 2017, a senior Bombardier executive said.
The two agreements, which total 43 firm CSeries orders, are expected to generate momentum for the narrowbody jets and follow an October decision by Airbus SE to take a majority stake in the plane program.
“We anticipate both of them by year end,” Commercial Aircraft President Fred Cromer told reporters. “That will take our firm order book to over 400 airplanes.” Cromer said both sales had already being under negotiation and were not the result of the Airbus venture.
EgyptAir Chairman Safwat Moslem told a Dubai Airshow news conference on Tuesday the CS300 aircraft, which seat 130 passengers, would be used by the airline’s domestic and regional carrier EgyptAir Express. The deal is valued at $1.1 billion based on list prices.
In Dubai, Ethiopian Airlines’ chief executive said he would decide next year whether to buy CSeries or Brazil-based Embraer’s E-jet series as a replacement for its Boeing’s 737-7.
“We are respecting the customer’s wishes to not disclose the identity,” Cromer said from Dubai.
Colin Bole, Bombardier’s senior vice president of commercial aircraft, said there were no particular conditions or terms that needed to be met to finalize the deals.
Bombardier’s deal with EgyptAir follows signed agreements with Iraqi Airways, Bahrain’s Gulf Air, among other Middle East regional carriers.
Bole said, “I think it’s a great template and it’s something that will be followed extremely closely by the other carriers in the region,” he said.
The EgyptAir LOI also includes purchasing options for a further 12 CSeries that, if exercised, would increase the total value of the deal to nearly $2.2 billion.
Bombardier is engaged in a trade dispute with Boeing, which complained that the CSeries had been subsidized and sold below cost in the United States. A U.S. trade commission will decide in early 2018 on whether to impose duties of nearly 300 percent on the planes as urged by the U.S. Commerce Department. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell in DUBAI and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Mark Potter and Steve Orlofsky)