Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace (BBD-A.TO, BBD-B.TO) said Monday that Lease Corporation International Aviation Ltd. placed a firm purchase order for three CS100 and 17 CS300 jetliners, valued at about US$1.44 billion, based on list prices. The purchaser, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lease Corporation International Ltd., also took options on an additional 20 CSeries aircraft. This is the second firm order secured by Bombardier for its in-development CSeries aircraft.

Commenting on the order, Gary Scott, President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, said, This firm order for both CS100 and CS300 aircraft adds to the momentum we anticipated for CSeries aircraft following the initial firm order by Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Moreover, LCI's purchase confirms the flexibility designed into this technologically advanced aircraft family as required by all our customers, but especially leasing companies.

Ireland-based Lease Corporation International, or LCI, is a privately-owned aircraft lessor that owns and leases planes to major airlines. Since its inception, the company has acquired aircraft valued at over $3.5 billion. Its customer list includes national flag carriers and major airlines such as Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Air France and Virgin Atlantic.

The launch of the CSeries family of aircraft was announced at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2008. Bombardier noted that the 110-seat and 130-seat CSeries family of aircraft benefit from the latest technological advancements. These include fourth-generation aerodynamics, increased use of composites and advanced aluminium alloy in structures, the very latest in system technologies, such as fly-by-wire and electric brakes. The aircraft are powered by the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1000G engine.

According to Bombardier, at the time of entry into service in 2013, the CSeries family of aircraft will be the greenest single-aisle aircraft in its class, as they will emit 20% less CO2 and 50% less nitrogen oxides, fly four times quieter, and deliver energy savings in the form of 20% fuel burn advantage and 15% improved cash operating costs compared to current in-production aircraft of similar size. The company sees a large worldwide demand for aircraft in the 100- to 149-seat category over the next two decades.

In order to meet customer demands, Bombardier had recently increased the CSeries' aircraft payload by 1,000 lbs, committed to an automatic over-wing exit door and added further inches to the airframe. Bombardier said that the CS100 and CS300 aircraft models will share a new common centerline engine and have the same crew type rating, operating and maintenance procedures. Each of the aircraft models will also have operational flexibility to permit utilization on both short-haul and transcontinental routes.

Last Tuesday, Bombardier announced the addition of three key European suppliers to the CSeries aircraft program. The suppliers are Alenia Aeronautica of Italy, Fokker Elmo of the Netherlands and Goodrich Actuation Systems of the U.K. Other key suppliers for the CSeries aircraft program announced earlier include C&D Zodiac, Rockwell Collins Inc. (COL) and Parker Hannifin Corp. (PH).

On March 11, 2009, Bombardier announced that European airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG (DLAKY.PK, DLAKF.PK) signed a firm purchase agreement for 30 CSeries model CS100 aircraft, with options on an additional 30 CSeries aircraft. The company noted that based on list price, the contract value for the 30 CS100 aircraft is about US$1.53 billion. Lufthansa became the launch customer for the CSeries aircraft family in July 2008, when it signed a letter of interest for up to 60 aircraft, including 30 options. The aircraft will be operated by Lufthansa's subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines Ltd.

In Monday's regular trading session on the Toronto Stock Exchange, BBD-A.TO is trading at C$3.17, up C$0.13 or 4.28% on a volume of 5,929 shares. The stock has been trading in a range of C$2.29-C$9.00 in the past 52 weeks.

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