Bombardier: 787-like modification costs unaffordable for CSeries

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Published: December 13, 2011

Bombardier has designed the CSeries production schedule in a way that should reduce the cost of an extended delay to entry into service.

Guy Hachey, president and chief operating officer of Bombardier Aerospace, revealed the existence of the delay strategy during an investor day event in New York on 6 December, although he emphasised the company still plans to deliver the first CSeries on time in late 2013.

Despite Bombardier’s repeated assurances, one market analyst asked Hachey to explain how he would deal with the costs of a long-term delay. In such an event, the analyst noted, Bombardier would be required to modify dozens of production aircraft that roll off the assembly line before testing verifies the final design, a costly process adding to the overall impact of a delay in the development programme.

“We have been thinking a lot about that,” Hachey replied. “We have our own experience about modifications lines. We’re taking that into account if we ever were to incur a delay.”

Hachey said it is possible to predict such requirements in the production “skyline”, or the monthly delivery schedules for the CSeries.

Bombardier has already sold out the first two years of CSeries production in 2014 and 2015, and two-thirds of production capacity in 2016.

“Right now we feel we can meet the [production] ramp,” Hachey said.

Getting stuck with dozens of parked aircraft that must be modified before they can be delivered to customers is simply not an option for Bombardier, he added, citing Boeing’s three-year delay for the 787′s entry into service.

“If you look at the Boeing 787, it’s a huge, huge undertaking, and our company cannot afford that [delay] , so we’re going to avoid that,” he said.

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