Bombardier aims to double production of the CSeries this year after delays to Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan shipments caused it to miss its original delivery target for 2017.
The Canadian manufacturer delivered 17 CSeries in 2017 as it shared some of Airbus’ frustration with its engine supplier.
Bombardier said that some P&W engines were late to arrive, while others destined for production aircraft had to be diverted to existing CSeries operators to meet spare engine requirements. Assuming those problems are resolved, it aims to roll out 40 CSeries in 2018.
Overall, 2017 was another difficult year for Bombardier’s commercial aircraft business, which posted an EBIT loss of $377 million to follow a $417 million reverse in 2016. Only slight improvements are forecast this year, when Bombardier hopes to reduce its EBIT loss to negative $350 million.
At the same time, however, Bombardier hopes to finalize Airbus’ 51% takeover of the CSeries program. In the short term this will do little for the company’s finances, since Airbus won’t assume any debt and is only paying a token $1 for its stake. Furthermore Bombardier has committed to pay up to $350 million into the CSeries partnership to cover any cash shortfalls during its first year.
Two more encouraging developments are that the company is already scouting out Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama facility to use as a CSeries production site, and that the US International Trade Commission has struck down the US Commerce Department’s attempt to slap import tariffs on the CSeries.
Bombardier is also reasonably optimistic about its aftermarket activity, with its installed base of equipment expected to remain stable in the short term. A slight increase in the average age of the Bombardier fleet should also push demand for maintenance.
In the long term, Bombardier is banking on an uptick in CSeries orders to compensate for gradual reductions in the number of CRJ and Q400 aircraft operating worldwide.
“While traditional markets such as North America and Europe should dominate in terms of market size, the fleet growth in non-traditional markets such as Africa, Middle East, South Asia and China is accelerating and creating new
opportunities for customer services,” Bombardier states in its annual report.