Bombardier has gained a second customer for its 90-seat Q400, as the Canadian manufacturer revealed that China’s Industrial Bank Financial Leasing Co. (CIB Leasing) has converted half of its standing order for 10 CRJ900 jets to five of the recently certified 90-seat version of the Q400 turboprop.

While the loss of five CRJ900s sends Bombardier’s backlog for the aircraft down below the 60 threshold the model reached as of the end of June—which was its highest backlog level in nearly two years—it nonetheless boosts prospects for the 90-seat version of the Q400.

Bombardier announced Aug. 1 it had achieved certification for the 90-seat Q400 by Transport Canada, clearing the way for delivery of the first aircraft of the type to Indian LCC SpiceJet later in 2018. Until CIB Leasing’s conversion order, SpiceJet was the only customer for the 90-seat Q400, having placed a firm order for 25 of the type, with options for an additional 25, in September 2017. Bombardier originally launched its 90-seat Q400 at the Singapore Air Show in February 2016.

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Fred Cromer said the manufacturer planned to work alongside CIB Leasing to pursue opportunities for regional fleet growth and network expansion in Asia.

“With 15% lower cost per seat than the 78-seat version, our 90-seat turboprop aircraft has unique capabilities and unbeatable productivity, and we are confident that our leasing partner and potential operators will extract tremendous value from it,” Cromer said.

Bombardier said the value of the converted purchase agreement came to about $420 million, based on list prices. The original CIB Leasing order for 10 CRJ900s, place in June 2016, was valued at about $472 million.

Mark Nensel