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July 10, 2018

Airbus renames Canadian jet as the A220, sees strong demand

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Airbus renames Canadian jet as the A220, sees strong demand
Airbus renames Canadian jet as the A220, sees strong demand

By Tim Hepher

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - Airbus (PA:AIR) unveiled a new identity for the 110-130-seat CSeries passenger plane on Tuesday as it prepares to broaden its battle with Boeing (N:BA) to small passenger jets.

The European firm said it was rebranding the plane as the A220, slotting it just under its longstanding A300 portfolio which stretches from the 124-seat A319 to the 544-seat A380.

Airbus expects to sell a "double-digit" number of the jets this year and sees demand for at least 3,000 of them over 20 years, said CSeries sales chief David Dufrenois.

The makeover seals the European takeover of one of Canada's most visible industrial projects and ends Bombardier's efforts to go it alone in the mainline jet market against larger rivals.

Airbus officials stressed it would be positive for jobs in Quebec where the lightweight jet is built.

The 110-seat and 130-seat models, previously known as CS100 and CS300, will be known as A220-100 and A220-300 respectively.

A deal for Airbus to take majority control of the loss-making Montreal-based aircraft program with Bombardier and Quebec as minority partners officially closed on July 1.

The move also sets the stage for a broader confrontation with Boeing, which last week announced a tentative deal to take over the commercial unit of Bombardier's competitor Embraer.

The change of identity came in a slick branding ceremony as the Canadian-developed passenger jet performed a flypast in searing heat over Airbus's Toulouse facilities, with executives papering over past differences over prospects for the jet.

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