Bombardier Signs $2B Deal With Saudi Airline

SAKHIR, Bahrain (CP) -- Bombardier Aerospace (TSX:BBD.B) says it has signed a firm agreement to to sell 16 of its CS300 aircraft to a Saudi Arabian airline with an option to sell an additional 10 aircraft.

The order for the 16 aircraft is valued at approximately US$1.21 billion, but should all 10 options be exercised, the value of the contract would increase to US$1.99 billion.

The agreement, signed in Bahrain, will see the aircraft operated by SaudiGulf Airlines, a newly launched national carrier from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

SaudiGulf Airlines will operate domestic and international flights, with the international route network focusing on main capitals in the Middle East and Gulf as well as the Indian subcontinent.

SaudiGulf Airlines chairman Sheikh Tariq Al Qahtani said the company is ''very excited about the CSeries aircraft's suitability for this market and the long-term success it will bring to the region.``

He also said it is a ''exciting time for the aviation industry'' in the Arab states and neighbouring regions, with more than 54 million passengers moved through Saudi Arabia's 27 airports last year alone.

"We are thrilled that SaudiGulf Airlines, based in the largest Arab economy — and one with an underserved air travel market — will base the core of its business plan on the CSeries aircraft,'' said Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Mike Arcamone.