Take a look at this interesting story from Aviation Week. Despite the expected sources sowing doubts about the CS, there is, in fact, rising interest. Why do we say rising? Because we are hearing of three potential orders coming – one of which is from China. The article above mentions interest from a different China source than we have heard about – now there are four potential customers.
The concerns expressed by various parties (OEMs specifically) about the viability of the CS have clearly caused the trade press to use a more questioning tone when reporting on the program. The article states the potential Chinese customer’s fears of delivery delays. Of course the customer is correct to have such concerns.
But note that this concern is based on experience with a program unrelated to Bombardier. What we are seeing is that concerns about new airplane programs recently and currently underway are impacting CS sales campaigns. Clearly the thinking is that if Airbus, Boeing and SuperJet have had challenges meeting schedules, how could Bombardier be immune?
On its face a reasonable question. But it would be equally reasonable to assume that Bombardier has learned lessons – from internal experience as well as the other OEMs. Let’s review what Bombardier is doing to mitigate against risk.
- The CS program is taking 63 months for product development. This compares to Boeing’s planned 48 months for the 787.
- They created the CIASTA program to test every part going in to the CS.
- The new wing is being tested in Belfast and passed the 150% stress test without breaking.
- The first fuselage arrived from China last year and is well into its lifecycle testing.
In other words, Bombardier is undertaking a multistage process of risk mitigation. The lessons learned internally come from years of working with a global supply chain plus the need to give themselves more development time based on experience from the Global Express aircraft.
Is this a guarantee of on-time delivery? Of course not, but it seems reasonable that the company is doing whatever it takes to reduce risk of late deliveries. Because new programs are risky the CS EIS might slip – maybe months, but years late? That does not seem likely.