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March 4, 2024
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Airline Business Editor Max Kingsley-Jones wrote an intruiging piece on the Bombardier CSeries in 2012. So we called Max and had a chat about the airplane and its prospects.  The CS is seen as living in an awkward segment – bigger than regional jets but smaller than full size airliners.  Bombardier is very confident of this segment and the success Embraer has seen in this segment seems to endorse this confidence. Trunk liners have a spotty record all the same.  It is a tough space to work in.  That said Bombardier needs a few more “big name” customers and these are likely to be forthcoming once the program has better visibility. 2012 is an important year for the program as it approaches the first flight in 2013.  Since program delays are “new normal”, airlines are to be expected to hang back until they can more clearly see the program’s milestones being reached.

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3 thoughts on “Podcast – 2012 and the CSeries

  1. It’s a rather pessimistic view of the situation. I think what is responsible for the considerable number of people that are taking a negative view on the CSeries is the extraordinary success of the A320 and 737. We are now used to spectacular announcements and we have a tendency to expect the same sort of numbers for the CSeries. Another reason for our high expectations is that it is such a nice design that we wonder why the airlines don’t all rush to buy it.

    But there is a much less discussed reason for the low orders in general, not just for the CSeries. Bombardier Commercial Aircraft had until today been 6 consecutive months without a president. Michele Arcamone just started today in his new appointment, replacing Gary Scott who had been more or less the father of the CSeries. And for the entire year 2010 there was no VP Sales at BCA. On top of that there was the sudden death of James Hoblyn who was leading at the time the very important Customer Services department which was undergoing full reorganization at the time. He has since been replaced by Eric Martel (a member of your Podcast club). But prior to that EM had just recently been appointed Senior VP of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. And as far as I know he still hasn’t been replaced there.

    Can you imagine the turmoil Bombardier has been through in the last couple of years. It’s true that it is nothing in comparison to what Boeing went through in the same period. But BBD is a much smaller company than Boeing and it would take much less to create havoc inside their ranks. So I don’t expect things to smooth out until the CSeries EIS. But since Arcamone is new to the aerospace business we have to give him the time to learn the intricacies of airplane dealing. But I have been surprised twice in the past, once by Pierre Beaudoin and later on by Guy Hachey. They seem to have learned their new trade very quickly. And if they had little experience in the aerospace industry before it never showed.

    In the meantime the sales team have been beefed up and that will be reflected eventually in the number of airplane sales. But I don’t expect anything spectacular at Farnborough, nor before or after. We may have to wait until the next Paris Air Show to see the CSeries take off.

  2. He wanted to have more solid guarantees that the engine would do what P&W was claiming. But we haven’t heard anything on the subject in a long while. And since that time the GTF has displayed a remarkable reliability record for a brand new design.

    There was speculation that the real reason was that Al Baker was trying to put pressure on the Canadian government to give Qatar access to the Canadian market. Authorization has since been given to operate out of Montreal and we all thought that a CSeries order would soon follow. But we are still waiting. That was to be expected though. This is classic behaviour for someone who the industry “affectionately” calls U Turn Al.

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