Picture from Bombardier.

DUBAI — The first non-Boeing order has been signed at the Dubai Air Show.

Following Emirates’ blockbuster order for 46 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners on the first day of the show, CDB Aviation committed 52 Boeing 737 MAX and eight 787-9s. Azerbaijan Airlines followed suit, with five 787-8s and two 747-8 Freighters, and leasing company ALAFCO also booked 20 additional 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

Today, Bombardier has broken Boeing’s clean streak with an order from EgyptAir. The Egyptian flag carrier has, in fact, signed a letter of intent for 12 Bombardier CSeries CS300s, with an option for an additional 12.

Valued at $1.1 billion in list prices, EgyptAir will be able to exercise its options for additional aircraft, raising the total deal up to $2.2 billion at the absolute most.

EgyptAir’s Safwat Musallam admitted that the airline is pleased to partner with the Canadian manufacturer for this new venture.

“We undertook a thorough evaluation process of our fleet and realized that the CS300 would fit perfectly into our business plans and growth strategy,” he said.

Musallam revealed that EgyptAir chose the CSeries program “because its excellent range will allow us to best serve domestic and regional destinations, including neighboring Arab cities, the Middle East as well as several European destinations,” he said.


It remains unclear, however, if Airbus’ recent involvement in the CSeries program played a crucial role in EgyptAir’s decision to move forward with this purchase order, although Musallam admitted being “happy to see that the partnership announced with Airbus will bring added support to the CSeries program.”

READ MORE: Analysis: Airbus Acquires 50% of Bombardier CSeries

Bombardier’s Fred Cromer noted that the company was “thrilled that EgyptAir selected the CS300 aircraft to renew its fleet.”

“We are confident that our small single-aisle CSeries is ideally suited to serve the hot temperature environments of the region and will undoubtedly provide performance and economics that will drive higher profitability,” he added.

During the presentation, Cromer revealed that Bombardier’s 20-year market outlook foresees demand for 450 airplanes in the 60-150-seat category for the region and that this LOI confirms the need for right-sized aircraft in the Middle East.

This order comes in as a massive boost for the Bombardier CSeries program, especially after long periods of time when there have been no orders placed for the manufacturer.

EgyptAir’s commitment highlights that the struggles that Bombardier have had with the likes of Boeing imposing huge tariffs on their parts are starting to become less of a problem as there is now a start of confidence for the aircraft type, especially after Airbus partnered with Bombardier on the CSeries program.

The CSeries program has sold only 341 units to date. Although its growth in sales has been critically slow, it appears that with the Airbus partnership, a promising future might be within scope.

READ MORE: Bombardier CSeries Faces Tight Timeline To Make 2017 Delivery Goal

Certain marketing strategies held by Airbus could have also contributed to this order as the sizeable dominant presence of the French manufacturer could have had some sway in more orders for the aircraft.

With EgyptAir becoming the 17th customer of the CSeries, the list of carriers convey a global spread but not enough of an even range to dominate a market share.

All-in-all, this is an excellent order for Bombardier and ascertains higher levels of confidence in the program if a higher number of units are being sold per order.

This would, in turn, reverse the negative correlation that Bombardier have had for a long while with the CSeries and could potentially turn it into a success like with its Q400 program, which has witnessed a very healthy run of sales over the past decade or two.