MIAMI —Bombardier has posted a US$4.9 billion loss for the third quarter, largely attributed to the status of its CSeries and Learjet 85 aircraft programs. The company also announced that the Government of Québec will invest US$1 billion in the CSeries program, plagued by ever-increasing cost-overruns and a schedule running two years behind the Entry Into Service (EIS).
The new partnership will grant Québec government a 49.5% equity stake to which would be transferred the assets, liabilities and obligations of the CSeries program. The remaining 50.5% will be owned by Bombardier, which will assume the inherent operational duties.
“This partnership comes at a pivotal time, with the CSeries on the verge of certification. The market is there, our leadership is in place, we have the best product and with the support of the government, we are ready to make this aircraft a commercial success” Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said in a statement.
The troubled CSeries program has proven to be expensive and difficult for Bombardier. The manufacturer recently announced that the flight test campaign was over 90 percent complete — the last stage prior the delivery and EIS.
Originally conceived as the Bombardier Regional Jet eXpansion (BRJX), the manufacturer relaunched the program in 2008 under the CSeries name after a pause due to the lack of interest from potential customers. The aircraft, larger than the CRJ regional jets produced by the Canadian airframer, was devised to compete with the Embraer 190 / 195, the Airbus A319 and the Boeing 737-700.
The CS100 had its first flight in September 2013, followed last February by the larger CS300. Bombardier had expected the plane to be popular as a replacement for aging regional aircraft, as well as in growing markets such as China and Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, the slump in fuel prices and the economic slowdown in such markets have caused the airliner to reap only 243 firm orders (short of the 300 promised at entry-into-service) and 603 purchase options.
Last February, Alain Bellemare took over the President and CEO position of Bombardier in a major executive shake-up, while Pierre Beaudoin became the Executive Chairman in lieu of Laurent Beaudoin, who retired after 50 years at the helm. Fred Cromer and Colin Bole have also joined the team to lead the company’s commercial aviation division and commercial sales teams through a difficult and turbulent transformation.
In September 2015, airline industry veteran Nico Buchholz was appointed as Senior Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer, Bombardier Inc. In this new position, Buchholz’s main role is to ensure that goods and services purchased by Bombardier meet the highest standards in terms of quality, on-time delivery and cost-efficiency.