Airbus and Bombardier in family ties with C Series deal

Airbus and Bombardier closed their C Series agreement after receiving the necessary approvals. The integration of the plane family in Airbus’ catalogue will become effective from July 1, 2018.

Airbus is to acquire a majority stake in the Société en commandite Avions C Series (SCAS), a joint venture which was originally created by Bombardier and Investissement Québec.

SCAS is in charge of the production of the CS100 and CS300, two regional airliners with a capacity of respectively 120 and 140 seats in standard configuration. The C Series company expects to benefit from Airbus global reach to boost the sales of its planes. The plant is based in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, and currently employs 2.200 people. Another assembly line is expected to be created in Mobile, Alabama, United States, where Airbus already owns a facility for the American market.

A total of 17 C Series aircraft were delivered in 2017. Bombardier and Airbus expect to increase the output in the years to come, with a goal of 35 planes delivered in 2018. The C Series family currently has a backlog of 115 CS100s and 258 CS300s orders. The last order was placed on May 28, 2018, by airBaltic for 30 CS300s with an option for 30 more.

Following the officialization of the partnership, new contracts are expected, most likely during Farnborough International Airshow in July 2018, when the C Series will be presented for the first time as part of Airbus catalogue. The European manufacturer estimates that 6.000 aircraft will be needed in that market segment over the next 20 years.

Despite rumors in April 2018, the change of name of the CS100 and CS300 into respectively A210 and A230 was not confirmed.

Following the agreement, Airbus will acquire 50.01% of the program for a token one canadian dollar. Bombardier should keep a stake of about 31%, while the part of the government from Quebec will be reduced to about 19%. Of the $6 billion that costed the development of the project, $1 billion belonged to the government, after a cash injection back in 2015. Airbus will have the possibility to buy back Quebec government’s share of the program by 2023, and Bombardier’s by 2025.

Philippe Balducchi from Airbus should take the reins of the program. His first mission will be to meet Bombardier suppliers to negotiate a reduction in production costs, while promising in exchange an increase in orders.

The biggest supplier with which Airbus will have to bargain is United Technologies (UTC). The U.S.-based giant owns Pratt & Whitney, the manufacturer of the exclusive engine powering the C Series, the PW1000G. UTC also acquired Rockwell Collins in September 2017. The avionics company provides most of the cockpit systems of Bombardier’s regional jetliner.

Source – AeroTime