UPDATE 2-Bombardier lifts forecast for business jet deliveries as demand rebounds

(Adds more details from earnings and MD&A)

Aug 5 (Reuters) – Bombardier Inc raised its full-year estimates for revenue and aircraft deliveries on Thursday, helped by higher business jet traffic and demand for planes after the pandemic sapped orders last year.

The planemaker also said it would use less free cash in 2021 than previously expected, after beating analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenues on higher deliveries and demand for aftermarket services.

According to FlightAware data, business jet flights were up 23% in the week-beginning July 21 over 2019 levels in the United States, the world’s largest market for corporate aviation.

Rivals Textron and General Dynamics Corp’s Gulfstream Aerospace are raising production to meet higher demand.

Free cash flow usage for 2021, a metric closely watched by investors, is now expected to be better than $300 million, compared with $500 million. Bombardier is forecasting 120 business jet deliveries in 2021, up from 110.

Full-year revenue is expected to exceed $5.8 billion, up from more than $5.6 billion.

Business jet revenue for the three months ending June 30 jumped 50% to $1.5 billion, compared with the $1.3 billion that analysts were expecting, according to Refinitiv.

But Montreal-based Bombardier posted an adjusted net loss of $137 million, or 6 cents per share, for the second quarter, compared with a loss of $248 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier.

Bombardier also disclosed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would join a global investigation into suspected bribery related to decade-old sales of company jets to Garuda Indonesia .

Bombardier, the latest aerospace group to face scrutiny over past deals, has previously said the Department of Justice and Britain’s Serious Fraud Office are investigating the acquisition and lease of its CRJ1000 aircraft to the airline between 2011 and 2012.

Bombardier is cooperating “with all inquiring authorities,” a spokeswoman said. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru and Allison Lampert; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Mike Harrison)