Last month we did a situational analysis of Boeing and Airbus and we promised to do the same for Embraer and Bombardier. Our follow-up article took longer than planned, as we wanted to include the rather significant changes that have transpired at Bombardier in recent weeks. Material for the analysis is the first half 2014 financial and operational results of the aircraft manufacturers but also information we got when we sat down with the Marketing managers of the two companies at Farnborough, Embraer’s Claudio Carmelier and Bombardier’s Philippe Poutissou. Unfortunately, the latter is no longer in his job, having been replaced in a series of management and corporate restructurings at Bombardier.
Status first half 2014
The situation in the two companies could not be more different. Embraer is financially healthy with well-selling aircraft programs, both on the commercial aircraft side (E-jet) and the business aircraft side (Phenom, Legacy). Embraer is well positioned for the future with a well-received update to its E-jet program (E-jet E2 ) . Bombardier on the other hand, has problems. Its financial situation is strained with too many new aircraft programs eating up cash (CSeries, Learjet 85, Global 7000/8000) and their currently active programs have in some cases seen their zenith in the market (CRJ, Challenger 600 and, arguably, the Q400).
If one looks on the 2014 first half-year results, things look good on the surface for Bombardier with net profits of $270m and EBIT of 5% on the $9.245bn turnover. Looking a bit deeper in the balance sheet, one sees that the company has consumed around $900m in cash over the last year, invested in the many development programs. Cash stands at $2.9bn with a revolving credit at $1.4bn so there is margin, but the cash consumption is significant and the mentioned development programs do not generate positive cash flow anytime soon.
Embraer on the other hand looks better with a similar EBIT on half the turnover ($3.bn) making for an EBIT margin of 9.3%. Embraer’s balance sheet is strong with investments in development almost balanced by generated cash over the last 12 months; the free cash flow is $140m lower now than a year ago.
These financial situations are a mirror of the operational situation in orders and deliveries. While deliveries increased slightly for Bombardier to 62 aircraft from 57 1H2013, the new orders are shrinking with 48 net orders compared to 82 for the same period last fiscal year. The backlog for the present commercial jet, the CRJ, is at 106 aircraft now, slightly up from a backlog of 91 aircraft around this time last year, but it is a backlog which will only last 2.5 years at present production rates, the CSeries is needed to bolster the commercial jet side. For the other regional aircraft program, Q400, it is worse. The low backlog of 1.4 years production of last year (36 aircraft) has not improved this year (35 aircraft) despite a good market for regional turboprops. (A hoped-for firming up of an order for 100 Q400s in Russia stalled as a result of the current global political situation and commercial terms.)
The business jet side, which has been doing very well in recent years, kept the same order rate for 1H 2014 (76 vs. 74 for 1H 2013) with deliveries slowing down slightly in 1H 2014 to 81 units vs. 84 1H 2013.
For Embraer commercial aircraft deliveries increased from 39 aircraft 1H2013 to 43 aircraft 1H2014. Orders were 120 E-Jets in 1H2013 to 54 in 1H2014. This big difference is explained by the launch orders for the E-Jet E2 last year. The E-Jet backlog has gone from 266 to 440 since this time last year, representing 4.5 years of production. The business jet side, which is dominated by light business jets in contrast to Bombardier who delivers predominately midsize or larger jets, has deliveries increase from 41 to 49 jets.
Program status and how did we get there
The financial situation mirrors well the situation in the civil aerospace parts in the companies. Let’s start with Embraer and then compare with Bombardier.
Embraer is today the world’s largest player in regional aircraft, coming from a position as one of the players in 30 seat Turboprops and nearly going under as company 20 years ago. The transformation is remarkable and a story in itself. It involves the passing through a life-threatening transformation from a government-sponsored state-owned company to a private company living from its commercial airplane sales with little or no support from the state. This all happened 1989-1996 and it has influenced the management and the strategy of the company. Part of the crisis was taking on too much technology risk in the pusher turboprop program CBA-123 Vector, which flew 1990 but never came to market.
During these toughest years in the company’s history, the management bet the company on building a regional jet from their Turboprop Brasilia EMB-120. After several iterations, the 50 seat EMB-145 was delivered 1996 and got good sales in a booming regional jet market. The launch of the EMB-145 stopped Bombardier from totally dominating the new 50 seat regional jet segment with their Challenger biz-jet- derived CRJ100, available four years earlier then EMB-145. Fresh out of intensive care, with the EMB-145 racking up sales, Embraer management took another bold decision only two years later, to go after the beyond 50 seat market with a clean sheet design. They had realized the three abreast EMB-145 could not be stretched above 50 seats and the market would move to 50-100 seats over the next 10 years.
The result was the E-Jet, a larger aircraft with airliner style cabin and the looks of a big jet with the engines under the wings. It went on to be a winner and has now replaced the EMB-145 completely. Embraer’s path since its crisis days is a combination of taking the necessary steps to follow the market at the right moment but with technology they know or can get to know with acceptable risk. This in turn enables predictable program execution and therefore entering the market at the planned time. When necessary they upgrade conservative technology choices in seconds steps. The E-Jet launched with existing engines (GE CF34) and a Fly-By-Wire which was essentially replacing the cable and pulleys with electrical signaling but not much more. This is then upgraded in the E-Jet E2, which by 2018 will be introduced with the Pratt & Whitney GTF, a new wing and full feedback (i.e. flight mode protection-capable) Fly-By-Wire. Through consistent execution of this strategy, Embraer has built the position of the world’s number three civil airliner company and the leader for aircraft under 130 seats. They have also grown their position in the Biz jet market from a niche player (with converted EMB-145s) to one of the top 4 suppliers.
Bombardier also realized the market would move on from the 50 seat jets and started their BRJ-X program late 1990, but they hesitated and did not move until 2008, then calling the program the CSeries. One can ask, What caused Bombardier to not take the step when Embraer did? It can be traced to their offering at the time. Bombardier had based their regional jet on the four abreast Challenger fuselage, which was superior to the narrower three abreast heritage of the Brasilia and ERJ and more suitable (though not ideal) for further stretches to the 70- or 90-passenger CRJ700 or 900 (it has since been stretched to 100 seats in the CRJ1000).
In retrospect, one can question this hesitation from a company which was in a much healthier situation then Embraer at the time. The market for something larger than the CRJ had been identified and Bombardier now has to fight in the 70-120 seat market with gradually longer and longer versions of which was originally a cross-section for 50 seats. The CRJ series are economical airplanes but they do not offer the customer experience of an airliner style E-Jet. Consequently it gets ordered by existing customer but struggles to win new business.
When Bombardier finally started the BRJ-X as the CSeries, they saw the need to go for new technology in critical areas of the airplane; structures, engines and electronics/FBW. While constituting a well-conceived design which will have a long active life, each new technology area has a learning curve and sure enough Bombardier has run across challenges in all three areas. The flight test program has clearly showed that they detected structural problems initially. These have since been fixed and the aircraft has now flown the complete flight envelope. On top of these problems, there has been a 1.5 to 2 year delay in getting the advanced Fly-By-Wire system to the state where the main functions can be tested. It has to date been flown in the “electrical cable and pulley mode” we described for the E-Jet. Bombardier calls it direct mode. Fly-By-Wire software version 3.0 has just been loaded on the test aircraft and will allow activation of the advanced modes but the tests have still not been flown with these functions enabled. Finally, the third advanced component, the engine, had problems, not in the critical gear area, rather in a tricky but well understood rear bearing lubrication box. The fix for this problem has now been identified and flight testing can continue.
Except for the Fly-By-Wire problems, these are normal issues that gets detected during flight testing. They seem major but are straight-forward to identify and fix. Implementation can cause retrofit situations if detected late, however. The opposite is true of the type of systems and Fly-By-Wire problems Bombardier and partners are wrestling with. Complex software systems are beasts to get bug-free and reliable. It takes a lot of effort and consumes a lot of time. If one starts with a bad status it is very difficult to say how long the fix will take. The faults are not visible to naked eye or instruments like for the structural or engines problems. Many times, the way out is to cut ambition level and deliver the full functionality in steps like Boeing did for the 747-8i FMS system. Whatever the CSeries program decides to do, the nice thing with software is that the upgrade is a USB hard disk docked to the aircraft and presto: things are up to date.
The real criticism one can direct at the CSeries is that program management has not been able to identify these challenges and planned way to optimistically as a consequence. They allocated themselves five years (2008-2013) for development and flight testing, a too-ambitious schedule for so much new technology. This is the schedule of a regional jet development with standard technology, not an all-new design which raises the bar in all respects. In the end, the time it will take will be more like the 787 and A350 programs, seven to eight years. There is nothing negative in this if this is foreseen and part of the planning from the start, Now the inadequate program management is putting the whole group under considerable strain. It robs the company of cash, which is being drained off to pay for prolonged development, but also of revenue, which is not coming in from deliveries; aircraft are only paid in full at delivery.
It is also unfortunate that the CSeries delays coincides with similar challenges on the business aircraft side. The Learjet 85 all composite clean-sheet development is seeing even more extensive delays and the Global 7000 and 8000 developments will need the CSeries avionics and Fly-By-Wire. All-in-all Bombardier has too much on its plate with grave deficiencies in planning and execution, major restructuring (layoff of 1,800 people and let-go of several managers) is the consequence, designed to lower the cash burn and organize the company to better master the large development programs.
How could it come to these two very different situations, and why does Bombardier need to do this radical restructuring? Once again we have to look into the history and see how the airplane companies came about and developed.
Embraer started from an ambition of the Brazilian state and military to build up an aircraft industry in Brazil. Wisely they decided to create an aeronautical center, starting after WW II at San Jose dos Campos outside the country’s industrial city, Sao Paulo. The center comprised the Aeronautical Technical Center (from which Embraer was spun off), an Aeronautical University (ITA) but also testing institutions and flight test facilities, all drawing on graduates coming out of ITA. Embraer gradually grew in this fertile soil, heavily supported by state and military until the 1990s when a country in crisis declared Embraer had to stand on its own feet.
We know they managed this very difficult transition and have grown since. The difficult transition period learned Embraer the lesson to keep things simple with step-by-step advancement of technology and that if you don’t have your own money you don’t control your destiny. The organically-grown company of today is the result of this history, a company which takes steps when needed and keeps money on hand to have the freedom to do that when they see fit. This is also why Embraer has a low “gearing ratio” i.e. return on own capital. Embraer likes to have a high level of its own capital, having learned what happens when you don’t.
Bombardier, started as a recreational equipment and mass transportation company, had no aerospace activities before 1986, when they bought Canadair from the state. They then added Learjet (1989), Shorts Brothers (1990) and finally De Havilland Canada ( 1992) in quick succession. Since then these entities have been gradually integrated but they have kept their identity and product lines intact to a large extent. After recent program misses, top management have decided to restructure the aeronautical activities into a centralized development group, a services and aero structures organization and separate divisions for commercial and biz jet aircraft, all reporting directly to the group CEO.
All aerospace programs are critically reviewed for status, work remaining to certification and cash flow impact. In this process one can foresee hard prioritization and that ambition levels and program schedules will be scrutinized. It is generally expected that the Learjet 85 will be the program that will be pushed forward to safeguard the earliest possible completion of CSeries and Global 7000/8000. These program reviews are not finished and it remains to be seen what changes will be presented for the programs. We will also have to see what will be the outcome of the different cooperation initiatives Bombardier has been working on with China and Russia. Right now these have some bad news with less cooperation around CSeries and Comac 919 than expected and the Russian venture suffering from the Ukraine crisis.
Embraer had their crisis 20 years ago but the learnings are still valid and have created the foundation for a strong and successful company. Bombardier were off to a good start with their quickly assembled Aeronautical division. They captured the trend from regional turboprops to jets earlier then all competitors and built successfully on the business jet foundation that Canadair brought. Somewhere half-time they hesitated when Embraer acted and they are having their crisis today as a result. The programs that give them trouble are technically well conceived and will give them long life cycles once finished. The problem that Bombardier is wrestling with is how to get them to the finish.
By Leeham Co EU
Embraer basicly took over 100 seats when Fokker collapsed. Very succesfull and succesfully supported too. The required billions at critical stages proved an excellent government investment. I think Embraer is now using cashflow and continuing E-Jet succes to get into new defense business. Using the same approach, using modern but existing technology (wings, engines, systems) to create the KC390. Here it’s Lockheed Martin that is reacting slow defending their market dominance. Unjustified IMO.
Is First Flight still planned for this year?
“Embraer plans for the first prototype of the new transport to make its maiden flight by the end of 2014.” http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/kc-390-engine-wins-faa-certification-403084/
They say so. Looking at the milestones that are being achieved / communicated in recent months; highly unlikely. You don’t just snap everything together, connect the boxes, upload the software and do that preflight RTO. Inevitable supplier, integration, software and testing challenges/ findings will push it into 2015.
Hi, the article does not mention Bombardier’s successful train division. I would have thought that this diversification would be beneficial to the long term survival of the company.
The train division (Bombardier Transportation) is what made the CSeries possible by providing the additional financial strength required to support such an ambitious programme. This division makes Bombardier into the largest train manufacturer in the world. It has recently been completely overhauled and is already more efficient.
It’s important for a company not to have all its eggs in the same basket and that is why other aerospace companies diversified into the military (or vice versa). But Bombardier elected early on to divest most of its military activities because it already had achieved diversification with the Transportation and Recreational Products divisions.
The RP division has since been sold (around 2002) and is now an independent company. So it can no longer be said that Bombardier is a Skidoo company, like John Leahy of Airbus said when BBD launched the CSeries in 2008!
If Bombardier Aerospace is being restructured today it is not only because the EIS of the CSeries has been postponed (What else is new?), or because the Lear 85 is running into technical problems, or because the CRJ and the Q400 are not selling well. I believe it is mainly due to the very successful streamlining of the Transportation division, which makes the Aerospace division look like a badly run company.
The article is not talking about survival for Bombardier, they are in a tough situation but far far away from where Embraer was in the 1990ies. And it was a review of how their civil aeronautical activities where doing, hence no mention of the train division for Bombardier, it is part of their turn-over and profit however but both divisions were pretty similar in that respect (nor did we go into the military part for Embraer).
I worked at Bombardier many time as contractor and I could see that their main problem is that their are very poor organized. Also in manufacturing field they have the least amount of personel (engineers) per total employees. Narrow mentality. That’s the truth.
Leeham Co Eu: “Bombardier were off to a good start with their quickly assembled Aeronautical division. They captured the trend from regional turboprops to jets earlier then all competitors and built successfully on the business jet foundation that Canadair brought. Somewhere half-time they hesitated when Embraer acted and they are having their crisis today as a result.”
Bombardier not only captured the trend from turboprops to jets, it actually created the regional jet segment. But that is only because it had inherited the widebody business jet design of the Challenger from Canadair, which was begging to be stretched into a regional transportation aircraft.
But that eventually played against them. For when it was time to move to larger capacity regional jets BBD had the option to stretch further or come out with a new design with a larger fuselage. Embraer did not have that choice because the Brasilia fuselage was too narrow, which FORCED them to create the highly successful E-Jet.
There are two other reasons why Bombardier was tergiversating with the BRJ-X. The first one has to do with the financial crisis which ensued from the events of September 11, 2001. This crisis impacted Bombardier directly and made the realization of the BRJ-X questionable. But when the crisis was over for Bombardier and the future looked bright again Embraer had already moved in and captured the market. So the timing was no longer in favour of Bombardier.
And when the BRJ-X was finally revived, and reincarnated into the CSeries, the engine technology required for this yet more ambitious design was simply not available at the time. Again it was bad timing.
We need to remember that when the financial crisis hit BBD after 9/11 a high profile CEO by the name of Paul Tellier was brought in to salvage the company. The first thing he did was to sell the RP division ( a sacred cow) to get some badly needed cash. He then proceeded to completely overhaul the operations. And he was very successful at it. But after that he decided to shelve the BRJ-X permanently. That is when Laurent Beaudoin, the Chairman of the Board, decided to step in. He fired the new CEO and took his place because he believed that the future of Bombardier lied in the development of new products like the CSeries.
Leeham Co Eu: “All-in-all Bombardier has too much on its plate with grave deficiencies in planning and execution…”
I agree that BBD has too much on its plate, but I disagree that it has GRAVE DEFICIENCIES in planning and execution. I don’t know about the Lear 85, except that the project manager was recently fired. So we can assume that the project was indeed badly managed. But we cannot say the same of the CSeries.
On the contrary, great efforts were deployed very early on in order to make sure that everything would go well with the CSeries. As far as I know no stupid decisions were taken and the programme has executed flawlessly, considering the limited experience BBD had in developing a large (for them) commercial aircraft. Proof of what I am saying is the CIASTA facility which was operating long before the maiden flight.
We could discuss the sales strategy with regards to various products, but this has nothing to do with planning or execution. I don’t think we can blame BBD for what happened with the PRATT & WHITNEY engine. And the software problems have more to do with bad planning and execution at PARKER than at Bombardier. For CIASTA is not meant to design and modify software, it is there to test it BEFORE it flies on aircraft.
That being said, there is no doubt in my mind that there is room for improvement derived from experience. As for the restructuring of the Aerospace division I am not sure what it entails exactly and if it is the right thing to do or not. Time will tell. Speaking of time, I believe the difficulties at Bombardier Aerospace have more to do with timing than anything else.
For anyone interested by the history of Bombardier I recommend reading the following book:
The Fly-By-Wire system should have been ready for flight testing late 2012 according to the original schedule, it got the operational software (allowing flying for full certification points) installed Sept. 2014 which is over 20 months later. A 20 months delay is about 1/3 of the original schedule for the aircraft program, I call such misses in program execution grave by any standards, especially since program management had been warned by what they saw on the much smaller CRJ1000 FBW rudder program (which also had delays).
Such absolutely central system components can’t be a sub-suppliers (Parker) own sub-project and you not guaranteeing yourselves full involvement and transparency. Then your supplier evaluation and selection program is totally inadequate for the business you are in. For critical system components you practically live with the supplier and demand 100% transparency, in fact you (at least) go out and hire someone who has done it before to help you estimate where your supplier is, otherwise you don’t have the skills to conduct adequate program reviews (ask the right questions, do the right design checks, code reviews and QA tests etc). System integration is as critical to building an aeroplane today as designing the aero and the structure.
The FlightGlobal listing of the top 100 aerospace companies places Bombardier at #15 with revenues of $9.4B(not including rail divisions additional $9B revenue) and Embraer at #19 with revenues of $6.4B.
The CSeries when it hits full production of 120 planes per year can add another $9B of revenue which would put BBD into the top 10 just ahead of Rolls Royce. If the CSeries really takes off(no pun intended) and they add a second production line, there is the potential of BBD vaulting into the top five of all aerospace companies. I am not saying they will but that is the potential impact of this one product line. This is not taking into account potential stretches to the CS500 or even CS900 later on. Yes Embraer has successful E-jets now but I do not think it has the potential to double or triple revenues like the CSeries is posed to do for BBD.
“System integration is as critical to building an aeroplane today as designing the aero and the structure.”
I totally agree with that statement. And I recognize that Bombardier had zero experience in that regard when the programme was initiated. It will be interesting to see what BBD has actually learned in its experience with the CSeries software design and integration, and how those lessons will be applied to future programmes.
As for the FBW Rudder on the CRJ1000, it is precisely because of the difficulties encountered, and the subsequent grounding of the aircraft for a period of nine months, that Bombardier has devised the CIASTA facility. So THEY DID learn from their experience. They planned everything well in advance, and as far as I can tell they executed properly, not to say flawlessly. But something went wrong.
I say it has nothing to do with Bombardier and you say otherwise. Frankly I cannot say what the situation really is. Because on the one hand I have not observed any significant missteps, and on the other no one has convincingly DEMONSTRATED to me that Bombardier suffers from poor planning and execution on the CSeries programme.
You say, speaking of the FBW system, that “Such absolutely central system components can’t be a sub-suppliers (Parker) own sub-project and you not guaranteeing yourselves full involvement and transparency. Then your supplier evaluation and selection program is totally inadequate for the business you are in. For critical system components you practically live with the supplier and demand 100% transparency, in fact you (at least) go out and hire someone who has done it before to help you estimate where your supplier is, otherwise you don’t have the skills to conduct adequate program reviews (ask the right questions, do the right design checks, code reviews and QA tests etc).”
That is a fair assessment and I always believed that Bombardier had done exactly that. Like I said BBD did not have any experience with software integration, especially on a large scale (the whole aircraft). But it does have extensive experience with suppliers. Bombardier developed the risk sharing concept in aerospace back in the 90s with the Global Express programme.
The result is that Bombardier has more people directly involved with suppliers than Boeing ever had before the Dreamliner debacle. And each supplier is closely monitored for performance and execution. Proof of that lies in the fabrication of the first fuselage barrels for the CSeries along with the first centre wing boxes. BBD was well prepared if anything went wrong. Unfortunately it did go wrong, but manufacturing was quickly repatriated as a temporary measure and production was not significantly affected.
Software is bit more tricky. Since Bombardier had no previous experience it is possible that they have mismanaged some aspects of this particularly demanding endeavour. But that does not mean that Bombardier as a whole, or the CSeries programme in particular, suffer from grave deficiencies.
The CSeries is a technical marvel. I would even dare to say that it is already a commercial success. But this aircraft suffers dearly from the comparison with well established players like Boeing and Airbus. But at least it does not suffer from the comparison with the actual products of those two manufacturers. Or anyone else’s for that matter.
It looks like I have replied to you instead of Leeham Co Eu. Sorry for the “poor execution”. 😉
By the way I totally agree with your entire post. It is an excellent summary of the situation, present and future. It shows exactly where Bombardier stands in the aerospace business, as well as the extraordinary potential of the CSeries and the huge impact it could have in terms of revenue.
A bit of revisionist history going on in the article. There was no market for the BRJ-X. Period. FD had the only two 100-seat airline orders on the horizon until FD decided to build “exclusively” to LH’s spec, which then allowed EMB to “back door” the LX order. If we are honest, there was good fortune involved in EMB dominating the 100-seat market.
Please give me the code so that I can decipher your post… 😉
Is that a picture of FTV1? 🙂
Could’a, Would’a, Should’a… 😉
It is the picture of Fairchild-Dorniers prototype of their 728 50-100 seat regional jet, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Dornier_728_family. Nice coding Joe and Keesje 🙂 .
Re your comment, Bombardier and Embraer was actively working with the worlds regional jet companies 1995-2000, they then got to discuss the future plans and evolution with these companies and both therefore devised programs to capture this market. Embraer moved, Bombardier did not. The fact that others also understood what was happening (Fairchild-Dornier etc) does not change that.
It was not a matter of “understanding the market”. During 1995 to 2000 there was no market for 100-seat aircraft save for LH and LX. The paucity of E190/195 sales even after FD and BBD were out of that segment amply demostrates that fact. EMB tried to stretch the ERJ 145 into a 70 seater so as to compete with the CRJ700 on the recently expanded SCOPE, but a stretched 145 just wasn’t viable so they were FORCED to go with a clean sheet… which enabled them eventually to backdoor FD. In other words, EMB had NO choice but to go clean sheet if they wished to remain in the game.
Joke aside, we don’t know what really happened to FTV1. Shortly after one of its engines disintegrated during a ground run while the cowlings were opened (this condition is equivalent to unprotected sex) Guy Hachey reassured us that the wing had not been impacted by debris, except for a portion outside the wing box. Understandably, Hachey was reluctant to give us additional details, but his comments clearly implied that the fuselage had been extensively damaged.
Now we learn in a video recently released by Bombardier that they have just started to repair the wing, after a hiatus of three months! And Rob Dewar added, in that same video, that the fuselage had not been affected. Talk about contradictory information!
It there was only a little bit of damage to the wing, like it was CLEARLY SAID in the video, why is it that it took three months to devise a repair method? And why is Dewar stating exactly the opposite of what Hachey was saying three months earlier?
I was not there when the incident happened and the last time I saw the aircraft was on September 16, 2013. But a comment I read in a blog dedicated to the CSeries made a lot of sense to me. It has been said in a recent post that FTV1 had been considered for a while as “beyond repair” and was heading for the scrapyard unless they found a way to repair it. Which they finally did, but only at the last minute. The same post also mentioned that FTV1 would have to be rebuilt, whatever that means.
I have still not made up my mind as to what REALLY happened to FTV1 and I am only speculating. For I base my own assessment on scant, and contradictory, information. So if what I say does not make sense to the reader, keep in mind that the whole situation with FTV1 doesn’t make sense to me either.
FTV1 is fine… it is already back in the sky, flying and pushing forward with flight testing.
If C-Series achieves certification and becomes a success – in about 4 years or so – everybody will speak of the wisdom of Bombadier and how Embraer got left behind using old technology. In my opinion the suvival of aerospace companies is dependent on good decisions (engineering- and marketing-wise) and lucky circumstances. Just good decisions aren’t enough.
I agree with your post. I predict more than 4 years, but once the C-series starts to roll out, Embraer as you stated will be left behind. There is too large of a gap in the technological differences between the two aircraft. Bombardier will see the majority of the orders turn their way. By the time Embraer catches up, Bombardier will have cemented itself with its customer base and will see repeat orders.
The Bombardier CRJ1000 FTVs suffered from a 5 calendar months grounding, not 9 months as stated by a reader. This grounding was indeed required to optimize the design of the CRJ1000’s Command By Wire Rudder system. The outcome of the fix / re-design was very successful and was captured as a formal and very beneficial flight control system design lesson learned.
Actually it was EIS that was delayed for nine months. The aircraft had been scheduled to enter into service in the first quarter of 2010, but in reality it only started to fly revenue in January 2011.