By Allison Lampert and Abhijith Ganapavaram
(Reuters) - Bombardier Inc on Thursday reported a smaller adjusted loss in the third quarter, as robust demand for private jet travel boosted the aircraft maker's margins.
Montreal-based Bombardier said its third-quarter adjusted loss narrowed to $2 million from $95 million a year earlier.
Corporate jet makers have reported swelling order backlogs on persistent strong demand for flying private, especially in the United States, the world's largest market for business aviation. Bombardier said its order backlog grew 23% to $15 billion.
The company, which faced a cash crunch in 2015, is focused on lowering debt, which it reduced by $100 million during the quarter.
Planemakers, however, face pressure from supply chain and labor disruptions as well as soaring inflation and broader concerns over a softening global economy.
Bombardier Chief Executive Eric Martel said 2022 deliveries remain on track for more than 120 aircraft and he expects to grow production by 15% to 20% next year.
“We are well equipped to face any market condition that will be ahead of us," he told analysts.
The company reported third-quarter free cash flow of $52 million, compared with $100 million last year.
Martel said Bombardier could benefit from demand for planes following consolidation among business jet fleet operators.
"I think we have to anticipate that there will be probably further consolidation which could be to our advantage," he said.
Bombardier reported an adjusted loss of $0.10 per share. Analysts on average were expecting a loss of $0.48 per share according to Refinitiv data.
Unadjusted, the company swung to a $27 million profit from a $377 million loss during the same period a year earlier.
Revenue rose slightly to $1.46 billion from a year earlier, boosted by a 20% year-over-year increase in aftermarket revenues, despite delivering fewer higher-priced large planes.
Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $1.597 billion.
(Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal and Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Jane Merriman and Nick Zieminski)