Bombardier says CSeries orders to start picking up

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Published: June 20, 2011

There will undoubtedly be a great deal of focus on Bombardier’s CSeries at this week’s Paris Air Show as the manufacturer hopes its foray into the narrowbody aircraft sector will begin to fulfill expectations on the order side. It announced no CSeries orders at last year’s Farnborough Airshow and, even with two orders announced this month (ATW Daily News, June 9), the order count numbers 103 to just five customers (ATW Daily News, June 2).

Bombardier CS100. Photo: Courtesy, Bombardier.

In a recent interview with ATW, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft President Gary Scott insisted he has “no concern about orders.” He explained, “There are many customers who are actively engaged with us and highly interested in the airplane. Many of these discussions are at an advanced stage. There will definitely be more orders this year, whether those happen at Paris, after Paris, is still to be determined … My bigger concern is meeting the high demand we’ll have for this aircraft in the initial years, [which will require] ramping up production as quickly as we possibly can, no doubt to at least [a build rate of] one aircraft per day. We’d like to get [to a one-per-day rate] within five years and hopefully sooner. So the orders will come soon. That will make others feel better but it’s not a concern of mine.”

He said rising oil prices, the Japanese disaster and unrest in the Middle East “all adds to anxiety in the [airline] board room, so they defer decisions on acquiring new equipment.” But he said economic “fundamentals are still moving in the right direction and I think that bodes well for the industry.”

Aside from orders, the CSeries program is “going quite well,” particularly in terms of developing and testing technology and preparing production facilities, Scott said: “When we get to Paris we’ll be roughly three years into the program with roughly two-and-a-half years left, so we’re a little more than half way. When you look at this game-changing aircraft with all this new technology, we have passed through the gates where you test the new technology, demonstrate it and prove out the design … The technology has proven itself and the [production] facilities are going up … We’re well along the way.”

New York-based Buckingham Research Group said in a recent report that the CSeries could have a strong showing at Le Bourget: “Orders for the CSeries were a major disappointment at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow as Bombardier failed to take in a single order. At this year’s Paris Air Show, however, we think Bombardier could take in 30-50 orders for the CSeries from 4-5 airline/leasing customers, including a potential order from Qatar [Airways].”

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