Bombardier adds 40 firm CSeries orders, shares rise

A plane flies over a Bombardier plant in Montreal, January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

TORONTO (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc BBDb.TO said on Friday that aircraft leasing company Macquarie AirFinance had signed a firm agreement to buy 40 of the Canadian manufacturer's new CSeries jets, with an option for 10 more.

The deal is for CS300 jets, the larger-capacity version of the CSeries. Macquarie AirFinance will lease the planes to airlines around the world, Bombardier said.

“It’s a decent-sized order,” said Cormark Securities analyst David Newman. “It gives a bit of a morale boost to the program.”

Bombardier’s shares rose 4 percent to C$3.64 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The agreement takes Bombardier’s firm CSeries orders to 243. It is aiming for 300 by the time the jets enter service, which the company has said should happen in the second half of 2015.

Bombardier’s closely watched CSeries program has experienced repeated delays and ballooning costs that have worried investors. The Montreal-based company resumed CSeries test flights on Sept. 7 after an on-ground engine fire halted them in May.

The multibillion-dollar CSeries program takes Bombardier, which is best known for building corporate jets and turboprop planes, into the competitive commercial jet market. The new jet competes with smaller offerings from Boeing Co BA.N and Airbus Group NV AIR.PA.

On Wednesday, Bombardier said it had completed a series of flights with the “fly by wire” electronic control system in what is called normal mode, the setting commercial pilots use during day-to-day operation.

The shift to normal mode came later than expected, Newman said, but it’s another milestone out of the way.

Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Lisa Von Ahn