Bombardier Commercial Aircraft’s top salesman is defending the manufacturer’s CSeries program, arguing that the program’s capacity to build 220 of the aircraft in the first three years of production should be acknowledged when comparisons are made with sales of Airbus’s A320NEO or Boeing’s 737 MAX.

The CSeries’ sale performance has been criticized as lackluster against those booked by Airbus and Boeing, and lessors in particular are wary that the Canadian manufacturer is unable to achieve the critical mass to support a secondary market. But speaking at ISTAT Asia conference yesterday in Singapore, Bombardier Senior VP Commercial Chet Fuller told the audience that by the end of 2013 the company should have 20-30 CSeries customers and 40 by December 2015.

Fuller added that a strong secondary market is achieved once an airframer sells 400 aircraft spread across at least 40 customers. Bombardier’s current order book includes firm orders for 133 CSeries, with 110 orders assigned to five disclosed customers while the remainder is undisclosed.

He also says Bombardier is more capable than Airbus and Boeing of meeting deadlines for development of new aircraft, arguing that while Bombardier is a smaller manufacturer it has produced more aircraft programs in the past two decade. “Bombardier has type-certified 26 aircraft in the past 20 years. More than any other airframer,” Fuller notes.

Bombardier expects the first flight for its CS100 by the end of this year, and entry-into-service in December 2013. Fuller declines to name the launch operator, although it is listed as an undisclosed firm order and according to Fuller it is one of the oldest operators in the world.