Perhaps the most vital component in Bombardier’s C Series of single-aisle commercial jets will consist not of metal, pneumatics or electrical circuits, but money. By the end of last month the company expected to know the stakes governments would risk, as its February deadline for all to ante up approached. Unwilling to tip his hand, C Series program head Gary Scott wouldn’t reveal the number of U.S.
Science and technology in Canada
It took a while for the message to register, but Bombardier finally heeded the airline market’s counsel in late January and shelved its languishing C Series program. Although it will retain a staff of about 50 for studies on a small mainline jet, the company has begun shifting most of the financial and human resources once dedicated to the C Series to other programs, most notably studies on a new 90- to 100-seat regional jet.
Bombardier’s bottom line was bolstered by “solid” demand for its business jets, and the company said it plans to increase production to ease record backlogs. Additionally, the Canadian company said that the Bombardier and Beaudoin families’ management dynasty will continue, with the appointment of Pierre Beaudoin as president and CEO of Bombardier, effective June 4. Pierre’s father, Laurent Beaudoin, remains chairman of the board.
Bombardier Aerospace’s Belfast, Northern Ireland work- force has rejected a new pay deal and is threatening strike action. Trade union representatives had actually accepted a new four-year deal that was due to take effect at the end of this coming January, but this was rejected in a shop-floor vote on October 15.
As part of a major consolidation project that it says will save $25 million a year, Bombardier has embarked on an 18-month project to consolidate all Learjet production, completions and deliveries in Wichita, and all such Challenger work in Montreal.
On the heels of posting a net loss of $418.6 million in the last fiscal year, due primarily to the stalled market for business jets and regional airliners, Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based Bombardier announced a major recapitalization program last month.
Chicago-based Jet Support Services Inc. has signed an agreement with Bombardier Aerospace in which the airframe manufacturer will provide the enrollment fee for JSSI’s top-of-the-line, tip-to-tail, customized hourly cost maintenance program applied to used “narrowbody” aircraft (primarily Learjets) taken in trade and sold over the next year.
Bombardier Aerospace has begun staffing its freshly established new commercial aircraft division outside Montreal as it looks toward the launch of a new 115- to 135-seat jet by next spring. Still without an official designation, the proposed three-member family would propel the Canadian aerospace power outside its traditional realm of business aircraft and regional airliner assembly and into the company of Boeing and Airbus.
Last month, Bombardier Aerospace launched a “classic aircraft support program” after seeing a “dramatic increase” in service and support requests over the past three years from operators of older Learjets and Challengers. But there is a catch–operators are required to pay for the service.
Overall deliveries of Bombardier business jets in the six months ending July 31 declined slightly to 99 aircraft from 101 in the same period last year, the company said yesterday. However, it noted that backlogs for its business jets remain “strong” despite the credit crunch facing financial markets, while deliveries are poised to “accelerate” in the second half of the year.