Odds and End: COMAC’s C919; IAM-Boeing, continued; CRJ future (Update with Ray Conner letter)

Update: Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, issued a letter to employees today. It is reprinted in full below the jump.

Original Post:

COMAC’s C919: This is China’s entry to compete with Airbus and Boeing in the 150-175 seat market sector. Aviation Week has a long report about the difficulties COMAC will likely have getting certified in the West and suggests that the airplane will largely be confined to flying by Chinese airlines.

IAM-Boeing, continued: In what has become a daily ritual, here is more news about the ongoing IAM-Boeing saga.

The case for the CRJ: Aviation Week has an interview with Bombardier’s Guy Hachey about the future of the CRJ. Flight Global has this story about the anticipated prospects of the CSeries in China.

Letter from Ray Conner to BCA employees:

Over the course of the last several days, I’ve received hundreds of messages from members of our team with questions and comments about our meetings last week with IAM leaders and the status of the 777X site selection process. The vast majority have been thoughtful and considerate expressions of both concern and hope for the future.

With that experience in mind, I thought it would be helpful to provide the full team a few clarifying comments about the disappointing outcome of last week’s talks and a quick update on the status of the 777X site selection process.

First, as we made clear in the statement we released last week, we agreed to re-engage with union leaders with the hope of reaching agreement on a contract extension that would place 777X final assembly and wing fabrication and assembly in Puget Sound. We responded to a proposal from the union with a best and final counterproposal that meaningfully improved the value delivered to IAM members over our prior offer and clarified points that some said were unclear in that earlier contract proposal. If ratified, our final proposed contract would have reinstated ZOOM, extended LOU-42 on securing 737 MAX production in Renton to 2024, improved dental coverage provisions, added an additional $5,000 lump sum in 2020, and better defined the 777X work that would be won as part of the agreement.

We were sincere in asking for the union leadership’s commitment to support our improved final proposal as a tentative agreement that would be taken to a vote by IAM members with a recommendation for approval. However, that did not happen. The proposal was rejected in short order by IAM-751 leaders. Subsequently, some have asserted that we withdrew our proposal. That’s not the case. We would not back away from an offer we made in good faith to our team. It was a rejection, plain and simple, and we now have to turn and face the reality of the union leadership’s final decision.

Based on last week’s outcome, we have now moved on to the next steps in the down select process for 777X work placement, which will be completed early next year. We received proposals from 22 states covering 54 sites. We are encouraged by the quality and magnitude of the response. Thanks to the diligent efforts of our evaluation team, this week we are narrowing that list down to a handful, from which our final decisions will be made.

Thank you for your patience and perseverance through all the attention this issue is getting in our community and in the media. We will continue to provide updates of our progress in the days and weeks ahead. Strengthening our Commercial Airplanes business for the short and long term will be guiding our decision making.


20 Comments on “Odds and End: COMAC’s C919; IAM-Boeing, continued; CRJ future (Update with Ray Conner letter)

  1. Last week I started a discussion on PPrune on existing parked CRJs. Many good ones parked and availabe at staggering low costs.


    They are increasingly hurting the new business jet market. With extra fuel tanks, a nice retrofit and many more hours on the clocks they cost half a new smaller Business Jet..


  2. The C919 doesn’t make commercial sense. Airbus was first and foremost a commercialization of existing capabilities, mainly in France but also Germany and the UK. It looks like the plane will be very late, will underperform and will be horribly lossmaking. I am sceptical that the Chinese aerospace industry will continue in this vein for future projects. However its future at the Tier 2 and likely Tier 1 levels is bright.

  3. And the CRJ future will be…? For CEO of Bombardier Aerospace: «“I’ve challenged my team to look at the next 15 years and said, ‘What do we have to do?’” he says. “We are going to be level-loading at a certain level of investment and engineering. We’re not going to go back to near-zero and then wait for the next mountain.”» CRJ with Passeport Engine ? Is it possible ? Otherwise, what is the relation between the CRJ future and the future os Scope Convention in the Regional segment ? I’m just asking because I’m a strategic guy, not a mechanical or a legal specialist…

    • I thought that the main advantages of GTF engines is its larger fan blade capability, which will also makes the engine bigger and heavier (more weight and drag) for such a small aircraft. Does a GTF engine really work competitively for all size aircraft?

      • WP:EN:
        The geared turbofan is a type of turbofan aircraft engine. Typical of this configuration are the long-established Honeywell TFE731, the Honeywell ALF 502/507, and the recent Pratt & Whitney PW1000G. The Aviadvigatel PD-18 is planned.

        The Bombardier Challenger 600 has ALF502 engines 😉

    • The GTF might be too large for a rear-engine aircraft like the CRJ. BBD is facing the same conundrum as Boeing on the 737. The GTF is best suited for installation under the wing of a long-legged aircraft like the CSeries or A320.

  4. So Conner DID demand the Union’s endorsement.
    He felt it wouldn’t pass without it, not even if the Union went neutral again.

    Boeing has gone the extra step of trying to force someone to lie for them. How does that fit with the yearly ethics re-commitment?

    It really make me question the sincerity of the deal. I don’t think it was sincere. Just more brinksmanship.

  5. I’ve been involved in negotiations for many years (nothing to do with aviation). The basic rule is that anything named or presented to the press or publicised outside negotiations is not worth the paper it is written on – it is merely a platitude intended to purely serve the interest of whoever makes it public. This applies whether employer or employed, and to workers, lawyers, labourers, teachers or doctors.

  6. Bombardier will have to do something with the CRJ before the E2 hits the market. Otherwise it will quickly fall into obsolescence. There is nothing they can do with the fuselage width, but better engines could easily be fitted to make it more competitive. This could be a cheap upgrade that would keep the CRJ relevant a few more years. Otherwise the cabin has already been improved to its maximum potential and the fuselage has been stretched enough to make the DC-8-61 look stubby! 🙂

  7. So, the future is the Cseries, and the CS100, CS300, it’s just the beginning…But, otherwise, do you think the Q500 (with 75-105 seats) will be better response for this segment with amazing metrics to face the competition of the E2?

    • I view the Q500 as a new design with a wider fuselage, not as a stretch of the Q400, which might not be technically viable. And it would not compete directly with the E2, but would be required to face the new ATR, for which the go ahead could be given soon. But if Airbus is still reluctant to launch Bombardier is even more so!

      • The Q500 with both fuselage and wings built largely of carbon composite, and it offers more interior space than any other regional aircraft with same speed. With same (like) avionic of the Cseries, and more than 20-30% (40% ?) fuel burn advantage than the E2, in 2018-2020, maybe the Q500 will be a good real plane !

  8. @capitainscarlet

    The future of the CRJ is good, but not great. Like the Q400 I suppose. Both aircraft are getting old and only newer engines could make a difference. The CRJ cannot be stretched anymore, and like Chet Fuller has said in the past the Q400 is already pretty close to its maximum length. But BBD is not in a position right now to afford replacements for those two historically successful aircraft. The resources are stretched to the maximum with the CSeries, the new Learjets and Globals. But once BBD gets over this steep curve it will be time to review those two programmes and find them suitable replacements. At the moment only Airbus is preventing ATR from delivering the knockout punch to the Q400. And the E2 has the current CRJ on the ropes.

  9. Pingback: IAM International to force vote over 751 objections on Boeing contract offer (via Seattle Times) | Leeham News and Comment

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