On the afternoon of July 16, a signing ceremony was held during Farnborough Air Show 2018 where Chinese lessor – CMB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. and the Latvian national airline airBaltic announced that the two companies had signed a Letter of Intent for the sale and leaseback of four Airbus A220-300 aircraft. It is the largest leasing transaction for the new joint venture CSALP (C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership) since Bombardier C series has been acquired by Airbus.

Founded in April 2008, CMB Leasing, as the leasing arm of China Merchants Bank (5th largest bank in China) is one of the first five financial leasing companies approved by China Banking Regulatory Commission with total assets of more than $24.6 billion. CMB Leasing is dedicated to provide financial solutions for aviation, shipping, equipment manufacturing, energy and environmental protection industries in the past 10 years. Aviation is one of its core business. Currently, it has a total of 198 aircraft of various types, including order placement with Airbus and COMAC, ranking 24th among global leasing community.

The Latvian airline airBaltic founded in 1995 is the world’s most punctual airline connecting the Baltic region with over 70 destinations in Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, and the CIS. Currently the airBaltic fleet consists of 32 aircraft and the company is moving towards to a single-type fleet introduction of up to 80 Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

The Airbus A220, previously known as Bombardier C Series, is a family of narrow-body, twin-engine, medium range jet marketed by Airbus, but designed and built in partnership with Canadian manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace. It aimed at 100 to 149-seat passenger aircraft market and with several improvements, such as high-efficiency, high-comfort and lowest-fuel burn. There are 402 firm orders for the A220, 38 aircraft have so far been delivered to three airlines — airBaltic (9), SWISS (23) and Korean Air (6).

On July 1, 2018, Airbus announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier's C-Series aircraft program. Under the agreement, Airbus will take 50.01% stake in the entity C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), with the remaining shares taken by Bombardier and Quebec Investment Corporation (IQ), respectively, at approximately 34% and 16%.