While Airbus and Boeing book orders by the hundreds for their re-engined narrowbodies, the backlog for Bombardier’s all-new CSeries continues to build only slowly. With signature of a purchase agreement from Iraqi Airways for five CS300s, the firm order total stands a 182 aircraft.

The firm order from the Iraqi flag carrier is worth $387 million at list price.

The deal includes options for 11 more CS300s and takes total orders and commitments for the CSeries family to 419 aircraft.

The Canadian manufacturer is targeting 300 firm orders by entry-into-service (EIS), a date that remains uncertain as Bombardier reviews the test program following a delayed first flight of CSeries on Sept. 16.

EIS for the 106-125-seat CS100 was planned for mid-2014, followed a year later by the 125-160-seat CS300, but analysts now expect the CSeries to enter service early in 2015.

Bombardier Aerospace President Guy Hachey remains confident of meeting the sales target. “Since the beginning we’ve said we wanted 300 firm orders by entry-into-service, with 20-30 customers. And we’re on track to do that,” he tells Aviation Week.

“If you look at where we are versus EIS, we have 16-17 customers and we have 182 orders. And look at the conditional orders that we’ve converted into firms. We’re not very far, and we still have quite a bit of time,” he says.

“And as we get closer to EIS there will be more interest, people will have more visibility of when the slots are going to be there, and they are going to be less concerned about delays,” Hachey says.

“I’m not too worried about the 300 orders and the 20-30 customers,” he adds.

Asked about criticism that Bombardier has not been prepared to cut CSeries prices to build the orderbook, Hachey says, “We lower our prices when it’s necessary. We do have launch customers, we’ve done what’s needed to be done. But we don’t need to give away the aircraft.”

Hachey notes that “we’re unfortunately in a place where we’re being compared to two units [Airbus and Boeing] that produce between 450 and 500 aircraft per year. We won’t build that many in the first three years [of CSeries production].

"So there’s no way I’m going to book 500 orders per annum at this point—even at any point in the program—because we’re not sizing up for that,” Bombardier Aerospace's top executive continues.

However, he adds, “When you look at our [orderbook] today, we have the first three years fully or almost fully booked and we have 300-plus commitments beyond that that are options, purchase rights or conditional orders. So we don’t have to set ourselves up for the long term by giving away the value of our aircraft.”