Home' Asian Aviation : AAV March 2019 Contents BOMBARDIER
40 AsianAviation | March 2019
BOMBARDIER’S LAUNCH of the CRJ550 regional jet reflects the
company’s continuing presence — for now, at least — in the com-
mercial aircraft business This includes a one-third minority share
in the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) that provides
customer support, marketing, procurement, and sales services for
Bombardier ’s single-aisle design that CSALP partner — and 50.01
percent majority shareholder — Airbus has re-branded the A220 in
its own family nomenclature.
The Global 7500 corporate jet’s entry into service in late Decem-
ber underlines Bombardier ’s continuing development of business
aircraft, as it executes a five-year “transformation” and re-structuring
plan to rationalise its aerospace activities. That exercise stimulated
last year ’s disposal of the Dash 8 regional twin-turboprop to fellow
Canadian company Viking Air (whose stable already contains Bom-
bardier ’s former Twin Otter feeder-liner/utility aircraft and CL-415
and CL-215 amphibious water-bomber/search-and-rescue designs).
The 50-passenger, three-cabin CRJ550 is a new “scope-clause”
model in Bombardier ’s Canadair Regional Jet series, based on the
70-seat CRJ700, but planned to be approved under a new type
certificate. US carrier United Airlines is the launch customer, albeit
planning to employ 50 used CRJ700s converted to fly at the CRJ550’s
planned 65,000lb/29,500kg maximum take-off weight that would
permit operation by mainline United pilots.
“ The CRJ550 is the only solution in North America that can replace
the existing fleet of ageing 50-seaters, a market of over 700 aircraft,”
claims Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Fred Cromer.
A key benefit for the US carriers will be to “leverage” the cockpit
commonality from the CRJ200 to the CRJ900, says the manufacturer.
Meanwhile, Bombardier is working hard to extend its C Series/
A220 composites-wing expertise and hopes to become a more
prominent Tier 1 supplier, according to Michael Ryan, the recently
appointed chief operating officer (formerly president) at Bombardier
Aerostructures & Engineering Services (BAES) in Belfast.
No stranger to the Airbus factory in southwest France, Ryan
says that since CSALP was formally established last July he has
spent “more time in Toulouse than in the whole of my career ”. The
partnership agreement sees Airbus becoming BAES’s biggest cus-
tomer, since it provides A220 fuselage sections and wings, as well
as A320-series engine nacelles and thrust reversers.
Ryan says incorporation of the A220 into the European man-
ufacturer ’s family has created an opportunity for BAES to offer
its full resources to Airbus, which “has never bought wings from
outside. The best thing I can do is to deliver products on time.
Airbus might say ‘Your wings are too dear, come and see how we
do it,’ [but] we say our wing is the latest technology. Can we learn
from them? sure we can.”
A recent example of Bombardier ’s aspirations to develop BAES
wing manufacturing has been January ’s agreement to acquire the
Global 7500 wing programme from Triumph Group, a move that the
company says will strengthen its position “as a leading aerostruc-
tures manufacturer ”.
With Bombardier now more than three years into the restructure,
the business “truly is transforming”, says Ryan. He quotes Bombar-
dier chief executive Alain Bellemare, who told analysts and investors
late last year: “Our heavy investment cycle is now complete and
we’re now transitioning to a growth cycle.’’
Bellemare sees “tremendous potential” now for the A220, which
he claims is “the best aircraft in the 100 to 150-seat class. And we
are supporting Airbus in growing the backlog and reducing costs”.
Speaking in anticipation of the CRJ440 launch, he confirmed
Bombardier would continue active participation in the regional-jet
market with “our established and scope-compliant CRJ platform,
while exploring strategic options for the programme. With the new
cabin and strong operating economics, our focus is on reducing
costs and increasing volumes.”
The restructuring has not been without pain: Ryan is currently
overseeing cuts of almost 500 jobs among the 3,800-strong work-
force at the Belfast plant.
Seeking a new role
As Bombardier rationalises its business with a smaller commercial-aircraft
activity, European correspondent Ian Goold reports that the Canadian
manufacturer is looking to become a bigger Tier 1 supplier.
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