Bombardier cuts Republic jet order from production schedule

Bombardier Inc. has removed from its production schedule an order for C Series aircraft placed six years ago by Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc.

Republic, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, agreed in February 2010 to 40 firm orders and 40 options for the CS300 model, with deliveries initially scheduled to start in 2015. The price tag was $3 billion.

While the firm orders remain in the planemaker’s backlog, removal from the production line means there are no set dates for when the aircraft will be built, Bombardier spokeswoman Marianella de la Barrera said Friday.

Montreal-based Bombardier until recently had struggled to gain North American customers for the C Series after production fell more than two years behind schedule and costs ballooned to more than $2 billion over budget. Bombardier and Republic had declined to comment on the status of the order since the airline announced plans in October 2014 to use just one type of plane in its fleet by the end of 2016, a move that didn’t include the C Series.

“We suspended the reserved slots pending the outcome of the bankruptcy proceedings, de la Barrera said. “Until we know the final outcome, its hard for us to plan or really to know what the full impact will be.”

Delta Air Lines Inc. agreed last month to buy at least 75 C Series planes, which would make it the largest operator of the aircraft. Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Swiss International unit in the third quarter will become the first carrier to operate the jet.

The change was revealed by Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare in a speech Thursday in New York.

Republic has made a series of changes since ordering the planes, including selling its Frontier Airlines subsidiary in 2013 and filing for bankruptcy protection in February.

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