Q400 Nigel Howarth/AWST

Bombardier Plans Aftermarket Focus Post CSeries

Cabin retrofits among likely near-term offerings.

MONTREAL--Bombardier's plans for building a sustainable commercial aircraft business without the CSeries includes increased emphasis on the aftermarket, but the company has not unveiled a detailed strategy.

For now, the company is eyeing "incremental opportunities" to serve its installed based of more than 2,000 CRJ regional jets and Dash 8/Q400 turboprops, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft President Fred Cromer says. That could mean everything from partnering with current service providers to expanding its service offerings or, potentially, acquisitions.

One growth area will be upgrades. Bombardier has rolled out its new Atmosphere cabin for its CRJs, booking orders from American Airlines and Delta Air Lines in recent weeks, soon after showing off an engineering mock-up on a production CRJ900 to each airline.The cabin incorporates feedback from operators, including larger bins and lavatories and a re-configured center aisle, and is considered by Bombardier to be a major selling point for future orders.

Bombardier Commercial VP and head of marketing Patrick Baudis confirmed that a retrofit version is being offered, and it will be formally launched as soon as a customer places an order.

Elements of Atmosphere could also be incorporated into the Q400, the company says--both as a line-fit and retrofit option.

Bombardier on July 1 will cede control of the CSeries to a new joint venture (JV) run by majority shareholder Airbus. The company's commercial-aircraft strategy is being sharpened to focus on the 60-100-seat market, which the company covers with the Q400 and CRJ700/900/1000 offerings. And while the JV will include managing OEM-provided support for the CSeries, both Bombardier and Airbus figure to benefit through work contracted out to them from the JV.

While OEMs have been standing up their own separate services business units, Bombardier has no plans for "major restructuring" to support its increased aftermarket focus, Cromer says. The company  had a dedicated services business, but it was dissolved in a 2014 reorganization that created the current breakdown of commercial aircraft, business aircraft, aerostructures, and transportation.

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