Finally, things are looking up for Bombardier as it announces that start-up carrier, Flymojo, has signed a letter of intent for 20 CS100s and indicated its interest in taking out options for another 20.
It’s just the jumpstart that the CSeries needs. Not only is it the first CSeries order since September (I know you’ve been counting), it’s also the first from the Asia-Pacific region, which is a key growth market.
The new Malaysian airline (which reports suggest won’t be low-cost) will fly the aircraft on about 10 routes from its primary hub at Senai International Airport, Johor and its secondary one in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
“As the only airline utilising the Southern Corridor as its headquarters, Flymojo will transform Senai into a key regional aviation and logistics hub,” Malaysia's deputy minister of transport, Aziz Kaprawi, said.
“With its strategic market footing and unique operations, Flymojo is an ideal match for the all-new CS100 jetliner,” said Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
That’s as may be, but how many more “ideal matches” will the CS100 find?
Flymojo, it seems, is quite an unusual case. It is coming in to fill the space in Malaysia’s air travel market after a number of incidents (the recent AirAsia ocean crash and the tragic incidents of Malaysia Airlines’ flights MH17 and MH370).
But let’s not forget, this is not a firm order from an established airline. It’s an “intent to buy” coming from a so far non-existent airline. That’s a lot of maybes.
And, considering the pressure on Bombardier to make sales, the manufacturer no doubt offered a tempting price.
The CSeries currently has 243 firm orders, but it claims it will reach 300 by the time the delayed aircraft enters into service (whenever that may be).
Udvar-Hazy went further to argue that Bombardier must target airlines. His thinking being that if the airlines come, the lessors will follow.
So, this is a good start, but is it enough to create confidence in the programme?