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CSeries interest picks up across North Africa following EgyptAir order

Posted 25 November 2017 · Add Comment

At least three airlines with bases in North Africa are evaluating the Bombardier CSeries as confidence in the type grows following EgyptAir's decision to buy 12 units with options for 12 more, reports Martin Rivers

Egypt’s flag-carrier announced a letter of intent for the CS300 variant during the Dubai Airshow last week.

Speaking to Arabian Aerospace just days later, Elyes Mnakbi, chief executive of Tunisair, Tunisia’s flag-carrier, said he is also poised to place an order.

“We visited the airshow last week and we are interested maybe to purchase some CSeries, because it is a very good aeroplane. For us it will be useful,” Mnakbi confirmed. He is seeking approval from Tunisair’s government shareholder to purchase “in the beginning two or three” units.

Bakhouche Alleche, director general of Air Algerie, Algeria’s flag-carrier, also told this publication that the CSeries “might be considered” as a successor to some of the company’s older turboprops.

“We have 8 ATR -500s to renew, “Alleche said. “We can stay on the ATRs and maybe get the -600, or change maybe to the CS or Embraer. It’s not decided yet.”

Both airline bosses made their remarks during this week’s annual meeting of the Arab Air Carrier’s Organisation (AACO) in Sharjah.

In August, Adel Ali, group chief executive of Air Arabia, confirmed that the Sharjah-based company is interested in deploying the CSeries from its North African hubs in Egypt and Morocco.

“There are very positive vibes coming out,” Ali told Arabian Aerospace at the time. “CSeries could be a good size for some of our thin routes, some of our development routes … domestic flights in Morocco, some of the Egyptian routes. They could do quite a lot of routes in the region.”

Air Arabia is holding parallel talks with Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier about its long-term fleet plans, with commitments for “around 100 aircraft” expected to be placed by early 2018.

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