Air Transport World

Singapore slowdown.(AIRSHOW)

Confirming the long-predicted leveling off of the aircraft re-equipment cycle, the 2008 Singapore Airshow (Feb. 19-24) lacked the feeding frenzy of new orders that has characterized the air show circuit since the current cycle began in 2005. In fact, the biggest surprise at the spanking new exhibition center came from the sidelines, not at one of the formal press conferences.


In a strong vote of confidence for Bombardier's proposed CSeries, International Lease Finance Corp. Chairman and CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy told ATW and other media that ILFC "could be an interesting ally" with the Canadian manufacturer in efforts to sell the 110/130-seat jet that will be powered by Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan. ILFC is spending a lot of time talking to Bombardier about the CSeries, Udvar-Hazy revealed. Likely it was just a coincidence that two days after he made his comments, the Bombardier board approved authority-to-offer, setting the stage for a possible launch later this year for entry into service in 2013.

An order would represent a significant departure for the mega-lessor, which hitherto has ordered new aircraft exclusively from Airbus and Boeing. Acknowledging that it would be "a new adventure for us," Udvar-Hazy observed that the delay in the 737 and A320 successor programs "creates a window for Bombardier." He made it clear, however, that ILFC would expect two or three marquee airlines to participate in any future launch order. He also believes that Boeing and Airbus "will respond aggressively" to a foray into the bottom of their market. "When you think about it, [the CSeries] is about the same size as the 737-200," he pointed out.

But Airbus and Boeing find their hands temporarily tied by their own massive investments in the A350 XWB and 787 programs respectively, as well as the need to fulfill the record backlogs each enjoys at a time when the supply chain is thinly stretched. …

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