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  • Comac and the CSeries: Partners, Peril or Purchaser?
    Posted by Robert Wall 11:32 AM on Jan 03, 2012

    Who is to blame for Bombardier’s civil aircraft order woes?

    That continues to be an issue of discussion as the industry watches Bombardier Aerospace grapple with anemic order intake, and not just for its CSeries narrowbody venture. A second issue is what the long-term implications of the current situation may be.

    During a recent meeting with investors, Airbus CEO Tom Enders was asked whether the launch of the A320NEO “forced Bombardier into the hands of the Chinese?” Bombardier and Comac last year began discussions on coordinating their respective CSeries and C919 narrowbody efforts.

    Enders says the decision to launch the NEO in December 2010 was taken to make sure the A320 family would continue selling, not to upset some rival, although he concedes there may have been secondary effects “you don’t foresee.”

    Still, he insists “the strategy was not to force Bombardier to sell themselves to the Chinese,” he says. And, he adds, “frankly, I don’t see that yet happening.”

    The discussion also is taken up elsewhere. The Teal Group’s Richard Aboulafia recently discussed the issue, here taking apart elements of a Canadian report that contends emerging competition is to blame for Bombardier’s plight.

    This year should help sort out exactly how the CSeries and the C919 relationship develops. One topic to watch is how Bombardier and Comac will work together. The other is whether either of the products can have a break-out order intake year – both enter the market with roughly the same level of orders.

    In the mean time, Boeing and Airbus will continue to outsell the two upstarts with their MAX and NEO respectively.

    Tags: tw99, Airbus, Boeing, CSeries, Bombardier

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