Bombardier’s involvement with China has not only concerned finding cost-efficient and skilled suppliers. Like many other manufacturers, Bombardier sees China as a huge market. According to its latest forecast, Chinese airlines will buy 2,220 aircraft seating up to 149 passengers in the next 20 years–about the same as Europe, Russia and the Confederation of Independent States combined. Only North America is still a much larger market, with demand forecast at 4,700 aircraft.
As a result of that assessment, Bombardier has gone much further than any other commercial-aircraft integrator in its China exposure. That approach is aided by Chinese government funding—around $400 million in Chinese public money is believed to be invested in the CSeries project—but that money will only flow through the work shares of the state-owned suppliers in the country. Bombardier also is entering close collaboration with Chinese manufacturer Comac, which is developing its C919 narrowbody. The two companies aim to achieve a common cockpit design for the C919 and the CSeries and plan to cooperate in other areas. There have even been suggestions that China might look at buying Bombardier Aerospace outright, although that has not yet materialized.