Bombardier Taps Brakes On Shenyang Components For CSeries
By Jens Flottau, Bradley Perrett
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
July 09, 2012
Credit: Photo Credit: Bombardier Aerospace
Bombardier Aerospace claims it can handle a global supply chain unlike any other system integrator. But following the temporary transition to Canada of key CSeries fuselage parts production from its Chinese partner Shenyang Aircraft Corp. (SAC), industry concerns are mounting that the Canadian airframer might have gone too far this time.
When Bombardier built up the manufacturing system for its new 110-149-seat jet family, it allocated development and production of three fuselage sections—forward, center and rear—plus the empennage to SAC. The Chinese supplier is also supposed to build the tail cone and wing-body fairing and, most challengingly, center wing box.
But that work allocation has changed significantly—perhaps just temporarily—as first reported by the Aviation Week Intelligence Network last week. Bombardier itself has taken fuselage assembly to Montreal for the initial set of aircraft, although the components are still to be built in Shenyang. Industry sources also say that several of the work packages that were previously allocated to SAC have subsequently been shifted temporarily to Western suppliers. Spanish aerostructures specialist Aernnova says it has a contract to deliver 40 center wing boxes and tail cones for the CSeries before the work is moved back to China. It is unclear how many sets of fuselage sections are to be built in Montreal, but one executive says at least 10 aircraft could be affected.
Industry executives with insight into the project are not suggesting that the CSeries program is in peril; however, it is clear that Bombardier has been forced to react to considerable problems in airframe manufacturing. Several questions arise from the reallocation nonetheless:
•Will the CSeries development and production schedule be affected?
•What will the program's longer-term industrial setup look like?
•What does the whole process say about the readiness of the Chinese aerospace industry—that not only Bombardier relies on—as an increasingly important part of the global supply chain?
Bombardier says the published schedule is not about to change. The first CS100 is slated to fly by year-end, with final assembly to start in the coming weeks (AW&ST June 25, p. 20). The fatigue-test aircraft is to be ready by September. The manufacturer plans to deliver the first CS100 to a yet-unidentified operator by the end of 2013. That would still be within the range that was originally suggested when Bombardier formally launched the CSeries four years ago on the eve of the 2008 Farnborough air show.