Bahrain's Gulf Air to buy 10 CSeries jets, Bombardier confirms
Struggling Mideast airline currently uses Airbus
Bombardier has identified Bahrain's Gulf Air as one of the customers for its CSeries, a new generation of commercial jet that will compete with some of the smaller planes offered by Airbus and Boeing.
The Middle East carrier ordered 10 CSeries CS100 aircraft in June 2011 but declined to be identified until Tuesday. It also has options for six additional planes.
The CS100, which has 110 to 125 seats, is to have its first flight by the end of June and is expected to enter into commercial service next year.
Bombardier announced last month that it has completed the last round of safety tests needed for the CSeries jest to get approval from Transport Canada.
Gulf Air currently operates a fleet of 26 Airbus planes but said Tuesday in a joint news release with the Montreal-based company that it's working with Bombardier Aerospace to ensure the CSeries meets the airline's goals.
The money-losing national carrier is focusing on high-yield routes that connect Bahrain businesses with regional markets.
It has has laid off more than 1,000 employees, or 15 per cent of its staff, and cut four routes since January.
Bombardier has received commitments for 388 CSeries, including 145 firm orders from eight customers.
Bombardier says it has tripled its commercial aircraft presence in the Middle East and Africa over the past four years.
There are more than 200 Q-Series turboprops, CRJ regional jets and CSeries in service or on order in the area.
Bombardier has delivered more than 2,600 Q-Series and CRJ planes around the world.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bombardier's shares gained five cents at $4.80 in Tuesday midday trading.