From war to partner: Airbus and the CSeries

John Leahy

Oct. 18, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It was the annual media day in 2010 that Airbus declared war on the Bombardier CSeries.

Lufthansa Group in 2009 was the launch customer of the CSeries with an order for 30 CS100s and options for 30 more.

Bombardier had won a major order from Republic Airways Holdings, which then owned Frontier Airlines, an exclusive A319/320 operator. Republic ordered 40 CS300s and optioned 40 more. It was this order that spurred Airbus’ wrath. It was this order that would push Airbus into launching the re-engined A320neo family.

John Leahy, Airbus COO-customers, and Tom Williams, then EVP of programs, declared to the assembled international media that Airbus would aggressively compete against Bombardier.

Now, seven years later, Airbus and Bombardier are partners.

Aggressive competition

“We will not do with Bombardier what Boeing did with Airbus,” Leahy declared. Boeing initially ignored Airbus, allowing it to grow. Airbus, Leahy said, would not allow Bombardier to do the same with the CSeries.

Williams declared Airbus would not let Bombardier establish a “beachhead” with the CSeries against the A319. A re-engined A320 family would destroy the business case for the CSeries, Williams said.

Airbus was true to its word. It dropped the price on the A320 in head-to-head competitions, offering airlines a larger airplane for the same price as the CS300. Bombardier was blocked from several deals.

Boeing, on the other hand, made the decision to ignore Bombardier until BBD nearly swooped in to land a big order from United Airlines in early 2016. Boeing sold the 737-700 to UAL for a reported price of around $24m. Then Bombardier won a deal with Delta Air Lines the following April. Boeing filed its trade complaint a year later.

The battle was on. And Airbus swooped in to acquire a majority stake in the CSeries program for C$1.

Cute airplane

Leahy today told LNC he always thought the CSeries was a “cute little airplane.”

“I always said it was a cute little airplane, and it is,” Leahy said. “I always knew that going up against Boeing and Airbus and that they didn’t have a support network, they didn’t have much of a commercial organization, it was going to be difficult to really get inroads into the market.

“We were competing against it for years, rather successfully,” he said. “I think so did Boeing, so I am shocked beyond belief that Boeing was trying to kick a dog when he was down. If Boeing had totally ignored them, they probably would have rolled over and died. Why they had to go pressing the Trump Administration for 300% tariffs is beyond the pale. I think a lot of reports that that forced them into our hands are probably true.”

The future under Airbus

As Boeing and Airbus develop the successors to the 737 and A320, the trend toward up-gauging suggests the new airplanes may start at 170 seats and go up. Program launch of these aircraft will almost certainly be no later than 2025.

Does this mean Airbus, which by then may own 100% of the CSeries program, will develop a CS500 to provide a family of airplanes from 100 to 150 seats?

Leahy, who retires by the end of this year, wouldn’t say.

“Two things you’ve got to remember. Until this closes [in 2018], we are not working with them, so I don’t want to get into how we’re going to change product strategy going forward or how we’re going to work on deals together,” he said. “We’re blatantly not going to discussing product strategy or working on deals together until the deal closes.”

After the deal closes, then Bombardier and Airbus will sit down and discuss product strategy, Leahy said.


Boeing claims that even if the CSeries is built in Mobile, it will be subject to tariffs if the US government affirms preliminary findings. Leahy disagrees.

“I cannot imagine that you would an airplane that is built with substantially more than 50% US parts, built in Alabama by US workers would somehow be classified as a foreign product because Boeing would like to see that,” he said. “As an American I would find that shocking. I can’t imagine that would happen.”

The Boeing attack on Bombardier has been roundly criticized for the potential cost to Boeing. Canada threatened to exclude Boeing from a fighter acquisition. The United Kingdom vowed retaliation. Conventional wisdom believes Delta won’t buy Boeing in its current RFP between the A321neo and the MAX 9/10 (Delta says it will be a fair competition).

One analyst LNC has talked to says Boeing doesn’t care about the present cost. Leahy agrees.

“Whatever it costs now, it’s worth it not to have competition,” Leahy said of Boeing. “That, I think, is an admission of a weak product line and a weak commercial organization that they say we just can’t afford that competition. Competition is too costly for us. We need to find a way to just block competition.”

124 Comments on “From war to partner: Airbus and the CSeries

  1. Thanks to a failed single aisle product strategy and its misguided war on Bombardier Inc, Boeing has essentially boxed themselves into a corner with the 737-8 MAX. Therefore, it’s not too difficult to guess that Airbus’ new product strategy will be designed to squeeze the 737-8 with a simple stretch of the CS500 (trading payload/range for capacity) and a slightly stretched A320neo (2-3 seatrows) — two relatively cheap undertakings. A CS500 and a slightly larger A320neo will IMJ be highly complementary.

    • It more complicated than that.

      Boeing has done well with the 737-10.

      The 737-800/8 is a bit better than the A320 on seat count.

      It does leave Airbus a wide open competitor below the 800/8 and it does allow them to make moves with the A320 upsizing it when they do the C-500.

      Boeing will likely do the NMA as its closest to fruition.

      I think its good ror Boeing as well getting kicked in the shins.

      • Apparently there is a second generation GTF in the making addressing current problems and a further fuel 2-3% fuel saving, the MAX’es cant tap into these.

      • @TransWorld

        Look at its this way; the A320 has been flying around for 30 years — largely unchanged.

        Boeing has had to respond twice to the A320 with significant and costly upgrades to the 737. After initially panicking for later deciding to counter the neo with the MAX, Boeing has developed a failed 737-9; is developing a significantly changed 737-7 (a shrunken 737-8) which is going to be DOA; and finally, a stretched 737-9 (737-10) that has largely cannibalised the 737-9, but which itself has logged relatively few incremental orders.

        In short, due to the superior A320 platform (i.e. much better growth capability etc.), Airbus has been in a superior strategic position in the single aisle market. They’ve esentially forced Boeing to pursue a failed and costly strategy, while not having to reveal their own strategic intentions.

        Now, with the fait accompli of Boeing scoring a massive own goal thanks to its ill-advised and self-destructive resort to protectionism, Airbus will probably start to reveal their own strategic intentions, a little by little.

        Here are just a few options:

        Interestingly, the A321 was stretched by inserting two new sections into the A320 (i.e. sections 13/14 and 16/17 are essentially the same on both the A320 and A321): Section 14A ahead of the centre fuselage (Section 15) and Section 16A aft of the centre fuselage. Thus, by stretching the A320 fuselage by, say, 5 frames — three frames on Section 13/14 and two frames on Section-16/17 — you’ve essentially also stretched the A321 by 5 frames; or two stretches for essentially the price of one…..

        So, a relatively cheap 5 frame stretch of both the A320 and A321 — in addition to a relatively cheap CS300 stretch — would not only encircle and squash the 737-8 from below with the CS500 and from above with the 5-frame stretched A320, but it would move the 5-frame stretched A321 out of reach of the already severely compromised 737-10.

        Even in a best case scenario where Boeing foregoes the MOM for a hugely expensive and premature New Single Aisle (NSA) programme, they’d be way too late to market. Believing, somehow, that the MAX will be able to hold the fort for an extend period of time will probably account for nothing but wishful thinking.

        • DOA- For the time being the only official DOA is the A319NEO . This is according to Airbus statements following the Bbd deal.

          • The 6750nm-capable ACJ319neo, though, should be quite successful.

            In contrast to Boeing that is committing major bucks to the DOA 737-7 MAX, the DOA A319neo development costs are relatively insignificant.

      • Airbus is better chasing than leading… Case in point: A380…. Another point: Every other plane they’ve (AB) made….

        It’s like, “Is Agent 3A back from Seattle with those plans yet? We promised people an airliner…. DAMMIT…. Get his rosy-red ass back here….. ….. ….What? WE’VE BEEN MADE??? ABORT.. ABORT… ABORT MISSION: COPY BOEING & REPLACE A YOKE WITH A JOYSTICK…”

        “Which reminds me. Will someone see how Agent 4B is doing at the Atari headquarters? We need those plans and specifications on that joystick to fly our f-ing airliners…

        What could go wrong putting a game console in the flight deck?”
        AF447… Back? Forward? Captain: Hello, Mr. St. Elmo’s Fire (PULL UP)
        F/O: Did someone say, Elmo? My kid loves that guy and his cookies.. (PULL UP)
        R/C: You’re thinking of the Cookie Monster, First Officer Jacque… (PULL UP) F/O/J: Always reminding me I’m sitting in the right seat.. (PULL UP) Always a bride’s maid, never a bride.. Why do you always bring that s**t up in the middle (PULL UP) of the Atlantic?
        R/C: Because, you f-ing idiot, you’re pulling the joystick while I’m pushing the joystick… (PULL THE F UP) F/O/J: I thought we were playing Grand Theft Voiture???

        ….(PULL UP)

        Airbus, Toulouse, France.. CEO: WHOSE bright idea was the joystick? This isn’t Grand Theft Auto…

    • Let’s face it: this boils down to Boeing vs. Airbus.

      Anyone who buys an Airbus or Airbus-related produce is asking for it. AB is putting too much control in the computers and less in the hands of the pilots. Boeing pilots are real pilots who don’t need systems to do menial tasks such as all the crap on the A380-which is a bust. The most flying a pilot does is “handing” control over the Spruce Goose II, III, and IV A/P.

      Aside from the subsidies Airbus has and continues to receive from the EU, Boeing’s 787 program is wiping the floor with A380 (dud) and currently have 286 airplanes on order compared to Airbus 86. It’s too early to tell who will come ahead in that one, but Boeing has out-delivered Airbus in the past 6 years and 20 times in the past 30 years with 2018 looking like a victory for Boeing as well..

      Boeing is a far better plane. Too much technology equals less skills for pilots which equals a crashed-computer-system airplane with less ability of pilots to land. An interesting video of an Airbus flight instructor landing a 737 and turing to the camera and said, “Airbus is much easier” because Boeing puts more control in the pilots’ hands. My response is, what happened at the Paris Air Show when an Airbus was stuck at about 100 feet above the runway, couldn’t go around, and continued into the trees beyond the end of the runway. Boeing pilots do not use systems at 100 feet above ground level.

      I always say this: When computers fail, do you call another computer to come in and fix it? Or, do you call a human. So I’ll ask again, WHO wants to be on an airliner where the computers do the work? Airbus is trying to take the human out of the flight deck entirely-and that is a scary thought-not just for the people on an Airbus, but the people on the ground on the AB flight path.

      Bombardier made a mistake, in my opinion. They played into the hands of an Airbus attempt to control that marketplace in commercial airliners. Once again, Boeing’s answer is: 787 vs A380, and when that didn’t work for Airbus and the A380 became a commercial flop, they put up the A350 after Boeing predicted a mid-range airliner capable of landing at more than a few dozen airports. Going big didn’t work for Airbus and they paid and are paying the price. Boeing has tied up the market with the 787 and Airbus is scrambling trying to figure out what to do. When Airbus violates WTO rulings with $20 BILLION in illegal subsidies, anyone would seek tariffs against a company with a $20 bn edge.

  2. Whatever happens from here leads me to think this saga is far from over. And hopefully it will culminate in a new technology, highly energy efficient aircraft taking a place in the market.

    • Yeah, well that won’t be coming from Boeing for sure. They iterate on winglets and that’s pretty much it. And both Airbus and Boeing will squash anyone trying to enter 130+ seat passenger jets. So forget any new entrants. Everyone got the message loud and clear [CSeries]: DO NOT try to enter that industry. Unless you have a LOT of money (which pretty much leaves the government subsidized companies in Russia and China). Innovation in the large passenger jets just died.
      The only hope for innovation is if someone figures out a way to make “drone pods” that can carry 100+ passengers. But I’m not holding my breath. Maybe Elon Musk (Tesla) will make ballistic flight affordable for long haul. And maybe train technology will make short haul by train better. As for the next leap in planes, it’s dead, gone, nobody wants to go there anymore. Market cops just dealt the final blow by protecting the duopoly and forcing another new entrant (Bombardier) to fold and give away its humble technology step (it was “rollover and die” or save the plane+jobs). So much for a free economy where players need to burn taxpayers money to even be able to do anything. This is so wrong on so many levels. I’m a complete defender of capitalism and a meritocracy but this is so removed that I’m not even sure what this is. There was a wrong turn made along the way and I’m not liking what this means for our evolution. 2017, we shouldn’t be where we are now. Lots of wasted time because of these market bending actions. And then Boeing says it’s Bombardier’s fault. Please…

      So innovation? It will have to come from a technology requiring very little upfront investment. Maybe a computer-controlled airway for automated pods to replace 100 seaters with 100s of pods. That might be the only way of taking on the duopoly. Other benefits would be: it’s not a huge missile in the sky anymore and there are only 4 passengers at a time, no need for 1 ounce of toothpaste anymore and be forced to be raped at the airport every time. That might work. Other than that 737 for another 50 years. Maybe some “pod idea” ends up dismantling the duopoly, maybe then will larger project see the light of day and we can finally get back to real innovation/competition/etc. For now, all of that is dead.

      • And what about the C Series is not innovative?

        And sooner or latter Boeing has to respond.

        Chicken Little its not

        • I dont agree that innovation is over. I agree that big coutries have an advantage with government subsidization and economies of scale especially China but that doesnt lead to innovation. Noone is buying the C919 except a token Boeing subsidiary and Chinese carriers and they’re only buying because they’re forced to. Centrally planned economies rig sales of homegrown products so they make money even if they’re sub par. Thsts the opposite of innovation. The counter argument is that its a stage in a plan and that better planes will come off this foundation but history has shown that not to be the csse. The best products come from a foundation of innovation in the first place. Timing, preparation, money, and partnerships are all big factors but there is still room for say Embraer to expand if they remain independent from Boeing. You can get lucky gambling on new technology not roadmapeed by the bigger and busier players who are backlogged. If Embraer decided to launch a MOM aircraft right now and got Pratt & Whitney on board, whose to say they couldn’t pull it off. But I wouldnt be surprised if Boeing did a joint venture with them. There does seem to be some consolidation in market dominance with GE aligning with Boeing, Airbus & Rolls Royce etc.

          As long as there is protection from monopolies there is potential for innitvation. The big players will stagnate if they stop innovating and leave toom for new entrants. That’s the dynamic that cost Boeing and will cost Airbus too if they dont learn from Boeings mistakes.

  3. Correction

    That should read; ….a simple stretch of the CS300 (trading payload/range for capacity).

  4. Just too good to be true….Airbus are simply too clever! Once the initial euphoria is over, reality will knock at Bombardier’s door. When it comes to the CS500 (with at least 2 engine suppliers), AB will be doing it their own way, for next to nothing, with Canada and Quebec pouring money into it. A competitor is always a competitor! As a bonus, # 45 is happy and will take credit for creating jobs in Alabama!

    • The important factor for Quebec and Canada is that the CSeries HQ, developmental, production and manufacturing facilities in Quebec will now become the largest Airbus development center outside the Europe. Going forward, these sites will very likely be utilised for future Airbus civilian and defense-related programmes. In short, a win-win situation for the aerospace industry in Canada.

      Le partenariat annoncé aujourd’hui fait du Québec le plus grand pôle de développement d’Airbus hors du continent européen. Le partenariat prévoit également le prolongement de 5 ans, soit jusqu’en 2041, de l’entente de continuité qui assure l’avenir des 2000 emplois à l’usine de Mirabel, en plus de maintenir le siège social de la société en commandite à Montréal.


      The partnership announced today makes Quebec the largest Airbus development center outside the European continent. The partnership also provides a 5-year extension of the continuity agreement, which will ensure the future of the 2000 jobs at the Mirabel plant, until 2041, in addition to maintaining the headquarters of the Cseries partnership in Montreal.

    • well, Trump is president and he’s doing what’s best for America. And he got more jobs for Alabama. Some (and I would be part of those) would say he’s just lucky, this is an unintended consequence and that too might blowback at some point. But for now, the 737Max lines were at full capacity. The only way for the USA to crank out more planes was if someone else came in to build more planes (or if Boeing opened new factories which was not in the picture). And, in this case, the plane was already 55% sourced in the USA. now it will be built there too. Like many say online, the CSeries is now more american that the 787. And, for sure, more American than the A320 built in Alabama. So, if anyone intends to block the Alabama CSeries, we need to talk about those A320s… So, yes, his actions turned out to create jobs .There’s a plethora of unintended consequences that he won’t be talking about. One of which is: the capping stone of the Canadian aerospace sector is now going to be tightly integrated with Airbus and you can be sure that even tighter integration means military. And the balance will shift from tightly integrated with the USA to tightly integrated with Europe. And that makes for an interesting fighter jet decision.
      As far as Mirabel, the contract specifies that the Alabama plant is for USA clients. Should there ever be a need for a 3rd plant, it’s in the contract that an eventual 3rd assembly line would go to Mirabel. So, between now and 2041, Mirabel will be building a lot of CSeries. more than Boeing ever dreamed had it left Bombardier to die of its slow death. Also, Bombardier has a big engineering division and Airbus will capitalize on that. I’m seeing a lot more integration. But yeah, Trump puts USA first and he somewhat is the president, so be can do and say whatever he wants. But someone who always thinks of himself first goes through a lot of divorces and that can be costly and kinda ruins relationships.

      • There will not be two engines choice on the C series.

        Its based on a single good engine and it has not only that, the GTF has great growth potential.

        Adding an engine choice is not going to happen.

  5. Maybe Boeing can have its goings on about the CS1/3’s but a CS500 will not be developed under the BBD flag and not be liable for any duties.

    So, Cs500/A320+/A321+, end of the 737!!! I can see an A321NEO “classic” continue for a long time as a LCC focused product.

    I can see the CS500 arriving sooner rather and than later and focused on the US market with the 320+ arriving when the 320’s production backlog tapering off?

    • The CS500 with 2+3 seating has it limitations in productivity just like the MD80’s. We do not know how reliable and cost effective the CS300 is in the long run yet. I think Airbus need to do lots of work on the CS300 for it to become a profit machine. If LH, AF and BA comes along saying they want a 2 class 165 seat short range 1-3hrs range minium mass aircraft in carbon fiber and Al-Li and will pay +$65M each for 500ea Airbus will listen. In theory it could be IndiGo asking for the same aircraft.

      • The CS300 should be more efficient than the 100 because the 100 is a shrink. Is that right ?

        • Both are more efficient than any other plane in their field.
          Although the fuel cost per seat mile of the CS300 is about 10% lower than the CS100, the trip cost of the latter is nearly 10% lower. So it really depends on the question how many seats you can sell at which price.
          What makes the CS30o a game changer is that although it is smaller than the 737-7 or the A319 the seat-mile-cost is lower!
          The big advantage of the CS100 against the E190 is that it offer superior comfort AND bette efficiency.

          • Flew several times on the E-series (<2 hour flights), comfort was good for me (better than in than back of a 787), will get my 1st taste of the C-series in <2months.

  6. If your going to quote yourself john..
    Tell everyone what you said last year…
    Cute little plane, but like an orphan
    no one wants likely deamed by poor sales forever. .

    • For once JL did something good in my eyes, he ID the orphan that needs a house to prosper in.

      These things doesn’t happen overnight, well done AB.

      • … loving the 330’s but also being the 330NEO’s biggest critic. Tomorrow if all goes well it takes the skies….

        ….start having a feeling “in my bones” that this bird could surprize?

        • Well Air Asia is looking to shuck its orders.

          That’s 66 out of its other big support (Delta I think is solid)

          Just because its fling is meaningless, we all knew it would fly. When was the last one that didn’t?

          So far its been stuck on 212 since the initial rush, no orders and Air Asia flopping.

          • Think AB messed up this one, it should have been the 350-800 on diet instead.

          • @Anton: The A350-800 is just too expensive, it would have been efficient only for long haul.
            The A330NEO is probably 30-40% cheaper to make, so it can undercut the 787 any day. Airlines will closely watch how efficient it flies. If they’ve got both the RR7000 and the modified wings right, it will be a formidable competitor to the 787.
            Besides, just been on an economy flight from Shanghai to Frankfurt on a 330-200, and was really happy for the extra inch in seat width, compared to some recent 777 and 747 flights in 17″ seats. Those were really no pleasure at all.

          • But why is airlines then not buying it and 787-9’s?

            Guess with squeezing in 3-3-3 the 787’s seat mile cost must look good.

            Maybe AB should go for a new 2-4-2 with 6 of the 8 seats that of the 787 and add an inch or so to the middle two seats?

    • @TC

      The folks at Bombardier and the good people of Canada don’t seem to hold any grudge against John Leahy.

      “Our friends in Seattle”, on the other hand, seem to be boiling over with anger.

      • Uncle Don will give Boeing a hanky and a couple of Trillion military contract. All will be well at Boeing.

        • Will it do any good to remind certain writers that Airbus us has a large military sector as well?

          While not always great there is usually some competing in the US military market.

    • John’s really a big, big iron guy at heart. (“Love me some A380s!”) LOL

  7. I wonder to what extent leases of Mobile-assembled aircraft would skirt the price/tariff question and make it moot. I’m not aware of cases where leases having been attacked successfully vs. outright sales. A lease valuation gets into the diversionary weeds of financing costs, debt/equity mix and residual value in addition to aircraft sales price. All in the eyes of the beholder.

    • The market’s near death. (Mostly with petro in the toilet.) And, did you see GE–man, GE–is going to junk most of its corporate fleet? And, lastly, BBD’s got a yuuge investment in the Global 7000, that’s not going very well as of yet.

  8. The optimal proportion of tube and wing airliners seem to be headed towards an ideal spot for floor space versus drag. I think for the CSeries, 110′ to 140′ in length. For the 737, A320 or new 3-3, 130′ to 160′. NMA at 2-2-2, 150′ to 180′.

        • 2-3-2 Also not 100, VERY nice for pax. Think 2-4-2 is ideal for 240-280 if you make it an “odd” shape with plastics that can still take 2 x LD3’s?

        • I think the CSeries a good step in the right direction for comfort. A minimal surcharge for a large benefit. 2-2-2 is the same thing. I think it can be very successful at about 160′ with 4,800nm range and 175′ with 4,300nm range. The key is optimizing the size of the wing and engines to stay as light as possible at 20% to 40% above the A321neo. The more conservative twin aisle choice is 2-3-2, but that will drive a larger longer heavier aircraft.

          • I do think in this case I will take Boeing design over OV-99 one.

    • Delta is still operating ~110 B757’s, could they become the launch customer for an A321+/322 and replace 320’s with MAX8’s, or could ABC deliver CS500’s in 4 years?

      So far they only ordered 321CEO’s.

      • exactly, now that Airbus has the CS100/CS300, they can focus their attention on the A322/A323. Long term, after 2041, Montreal COULD become like Belfast, a place where we build some parts of Airbus planes. Will we still build planes? I’d think it’s likely, between now and 2041 (when Airbus has no more obligations to build CSeries for non-US sales in Mirabel), Bombardier has 24 years to find some other niche. A niche below 100 seats for sure. Well, actually, now that we have a new big brother to protect us, we don’t have to steer clear of the duopoly anymore. We are part of it now. Geez, I’m not used to that yet…
        BTW: I’ve been posting on LeehamNews and Twitter for years under the name PierreBus even though I’m clearly a Bombardier CSeries fanboy. I think I might’ve jinxed the whole thing 😉

          • I thought Bombardier let go most of its advanced design people once the Cseries was finished. They arent going to do another one , and the skills for its turboprop and business jet lines are different

        • Airbus as no obligation to build non US bound cseries in mirabel in my book. Have you seen a writen document that says they have the obligation to built those planes in Mirabel with monetary penality if thwy don’t ? Forget the talking when they get 100% of the cseries and mobile plan runing they can do whatever they want. And trust me they will.

          • Same for that 2041 agrement they might move out of Mirabel sooner then that.

          • @Bluedog

            No obligation perhaps, but Airbus is not a company with a history of slash-and-burn capitalism.

            In contrast, the Boeing Company has regularily resorted to such tried and tested methods. The last US city that got well and truly shafted by Boeing was Wichita, Kansas. Having acted as useful idiots for Boeing after NG/EADS had initially won the KC-X competition, Boeing thanked them a year after finally “winning” the KC-X contract, by closing all of the facilities in Wichita that apparently was supposed to militarise the 767-200 airframe into a KC-46.

      • Delta will operate aircraft that gives Delta the biggest bang for the buck. Also Boeing has to grow up and know how to play with the big boys or they will loose the civilian aircraft market.

    • Drag vs fine-ness ration and structural weight are significant factors.

      So the A310 was shorter than optimum fuselage length for the A300 diameter, compared to 767 length and diameter, but obviously savings in tooling.

      • At the long end reduced performance due to limited rotation angle, and higher risk of tailstrike are factors. (My impression is 757s have higher incidence rate than other airplanes, I don’t know about long DC-8s (gear height being a big factor of course.)

  9. Abaulafia is predicting that Eurofighter are now most likely suppliers of future Canadian fighters. I Guess A400M might get a look in now as well. So Airbus’s civil salesmen might not be the only ones bus. Lockheed will be furious. I Guess US military sales to Canadá and UK just fell by about 40bn? Or? Anybody here who can make a realisticos estimate? It seems that lifetime costs of Canadian F35 was some kind of secret.

    • The turbo-prop pot could be interesting.

      I still believe there are a civil and military applications for a smaller over wing jet aircraft (60-80 seats)? With NG jet engines this could make larger props such as the ATR72’s/Q400’s obsolete?

      Not a big market but a good “fatty” 2-2 turboprop around 30-40 seats is maybe not a stupid idea? Must be pressurized an have a range of not less than 2000km and make 1.2km strips look long?

    • yeah, I read that too. industrial integration just shifted towards Europe. And maybe Canada will start to play the same stupid WTO rules that leave out any defense/military contracts from subsidy equations. That is the stupidest rule ever: ability to pump unlimited resources into a defense company that also builds civilian products. Yet that’s not a subsidy. Anyway, if those are the rules, Canada would be dumb to buy something that is pumping money into a company/industry that is killing their local industry right back. Makes much more sense to integrate with an industrial conglomerate that will keep you alive. And if that conglomerate is the same one that builds the military and civilian products, then, bingo, subsidies galore flying right under the WTO radar… I hate this stupid game. Can’t we change the rules? Doesn’t a rule exist because it’s good? [and not automatically good because it exists]?
      Well, anyway, BEST investment [while we still have these stupid rules] is to invest locally, build your own crap and pump the money into the local economy and fly under the stupid WTO radar. Because spending/giving money on DEFENSE to a company that is out to KILL YOU, that’s plain dumb 😉 Only Boeing is trying to convince us that it’s the best idea ever. Riiiigggght…..

    • The A400M, if it works (I’m out of touch), is a big step up from the old C130. It’s much, much bigger, but still has the rough strip capability. The C17 and the other jet powered transports aren’t so good on rough strips.

      Eurofighter is actually OK. It’s got good performance, and if the weapons systems actually work it’s a reasonable choice. One of the advantages that Rafale has (had?) is that it has a wide range of munitions all fully developed. Better a plane that can drop/fire/launch stuff than one where the whizzo missile is still on the designer’s drawing desk. But I think Eurofighter has come on a long way now.

      I think what this whole thing might kick-off is a major reconsideration of international development programs. Currently there’s a lot of US control over everything – ITAR rules, control of key capabilities, control of key development programs.

      If the UK, Europe, Canada and, say, Japan and Australia decide to go it alone without the US, there’s the right mix of industry there to wean defence programs off ITAR’ed components. A few months back the UK and Japan concluded an agreement to look at the potential for a joint fighter development. That could balloon up into something quite interesting. Between the UK, Europe and Japan combined there’s a good space launch capacity, and a good satellite manufacturing capacity, with a good chance of making it all ITAR free.

      Basically, if all these countries got fed up of being bullied by American trade policies whilst also being 2nd class partners in intelligence, equipment programs, they might just agree to formulate a new grouping minus the USA. They could (given some time) reconstitute everything for themselves (and more so – their combined economies are larger than the USA’s).

      The one thing that spoils all that is that the UK’s nuclear deterrent relies on sharing Trident missiles with the USA. That does give the USA a big hold over what the UK does. Uncle Sam can take that away from the UK at any time (no matter what a treaty says).

      Say the UK were to cut loose from shared Trident, and needed a replacement in a hurry. Could they use the French one? Well, I’ve checked. It seems that the French missile is a touch wider than Trident; it won’t fit in the launch holes. So it would be a big refit job…

    • mmm, question is how much the Canadian government will be ticked off with Boeing vs the US government. In the short term I suspect very much with both publicly to play hard with Trump’s trade push.

      Last I noticed, life cycle costs were being quoted by media for Canadian military procurement, often badly as people tended to only quote the total with inference that is new-purchase price, military is trying to do it properly by considering life cycle costs including upgrades. Benefits are tricker, the F-35 is more advanced thus more interoperable due datalinks – if Canada buys F-35s they can share radar data with Alaskan F-22s, more efficient for both forces..

      • Canada does not need an A-35.
        Sorry, for me the F-35 is as much a fighter aircraft as the F-117.
        Canada needs an interceptor.
        The Eurofighter is great but I would prefer the Gripen with operational capabilities in very cold conditions from short and icy runways.

        • Yeah that is quite similar to the criticism leveled at the F/A-18 when it came out. Still countries continue to purchase the F-35…

          • “Continue to purchase “?
            The Netherlands scaled back from 85 to 37 aircraft. I’m not aware of any new orders in the recent years. New orders from costumers Lockheed Martin had not already announced for years as “orders”. I won’t count confirmation of existing announcements as new.

            Israel would rather like less F-35.

    • Or maybe with Trudeau–no fighters, just a RCAF converted into a national SAR force with CN235s, Twin Otters, and Blackhawks. They’ll be lucky to keep a squadron of BAE Hawks, mostly for “pretty pictures” at airshows! LOL

    • Well the eurofighter/typhoon wouldn’t be a bad choice for Canada as the used market will soon be flooded with them (some even with under 10 years air frame time on them currently) as European countries are anxious to shed them. They should really consult with Austria on what a great fighter it is!

    • MartinA: I beat him to it. I could see that link up a mile away.

      Another black eye for Boeing.

      The gift that keeps on giving

      • Not me, RA, I think Canadá will end up with the F-35, common service and parts with the US if Canadá ever has to go to war, and NOT Boeing. Same logic as RAAF always buys US unless it’s a dog.

  10. The first ‘trans atlantic’ commercial airliner deal was when the old Canadair built a version of the Bristol Britannia , which had a longer fuselage and RR Tyne turbo props. At the start of the jet age it was not really a goer, but did have extra-ordinary range for the time.

    • Last time I saw Tynes was on Royal Navy ships, used to pootle around the oceans at a gentle cruising speed. There may be some left even now (on a T22 if there’s any left?).

      When they wanted to go proper-fast, they’d switch on a pair of Speys (or Olympus, depending on the ship). Oh boy could those things move a ship like you wouldn’t believe! Very impressive.

      Back in the very early days of gas turbines for ship propulsion, RR apparently did some demo runs to show just what a gas turbine would run on. Fuel oil, diesel, kerosene, petrol, coal slurry, powdered wood, sugar, etc. Basically if you could pump it and if it burned, it’d work.

      • Tynes still power the Transall C160 and Bruguet Atlantique and the first iteration of the Aeritalia G222/C27A ( now with different engines as the C27J)

      • Mathew, the Tyne is a turboshaft engine, Spey and Olympus not. So different installation and drive.
        Perhaps a turbofan engine could drive a power turbine separate from the engine, might help decouple the engine from the propeller shaft.
        I’ve seen what sure looked like a GE engine in a fast ship (all those movable vanes), probably turboshaft.

        Navy ships want dash speed to get to point of trouble including circling around the rest of the fleet to get at an intruder. (Officially the Canadian frigates do something like 54 knots on two turbines, but suck fuel then – they have a diesel for normal motion. They have helicopters on board to look further out, and probably dipping sonar to detect submarines.)

        Hmm, need an inflatable electric boat with water jet propulsion to get out there too, RHIB would be faster but more hull vibration I guess, could be remotely operated.)

        • BTW, if anyone wants old turbines now used in ground functions, S and S Turbines in Fort St. John B.C. maintains them. He even has an Iroquois engine with intentions of getting it running. (Gas turbines are often used in natural gas pipelines driving compressors to keep the gas moving, and for electricity generation. In the latter role they are either simple turboshaft driving of generator – giving quick spoolup to cover for those fickle wind and solar energy systems – or with a thermal plant recovering exhaust heat driving a generator, more efficient.

  11. What is motivating the acquisition of a two model line that hasn’t sold a new one in over a year? French connection noblesse oblige? Growing the model line to the point of endangering the cash cow makes no sense. Or is Delta behind this to achieve their fleet goals? They have, in the past, bought a refinery; so they are willing to branch out. In the ensuing three year wait, will one of or both of the duopoly have improved models to offer within their current lines? Yes it’s free but there are a lot of expensive loose ends to tie off.

    • You do know that Airbus makes and sells planes, they getting a 50.1% share of a newer model that they can make and sell and which fits nicely below their existing line. You are over analysing it , its not like Airbus make trains and snowmobiles and such and this is something new for them

      • They sell the ones they design and make as part of an integrated product line. This won’t be a financial plus for them for a long time, if ever.

        • It’ll be a financial plus for them as soon as the first copy is sold from here on in (well, once the deal is closed). Because Airbus is not reimbursing the development cost to BBD.

          • That’s after they build the factory while figuring out how to manufacture, harmonize, and market the aircraft. History is replete with stagnated aircraft projects where those items were never synchronized and Canada has more than its fair share. Maybe ATR as a model, but that was planned from the start. This is much more ad hoc.

  12. If this deal was in the works regardless of the status quo, Boeing’s needless aggressive US government lobby action on Bombardier really gave Airbus a good PR excuse to get everyone who has a strong interest in the CSeries program to back their move which may otherwise have been seen more from the anti-competitive perspective. Even airline customers, present and potential, like Lufthansa, Delta and Air Asia have spoken favorably about the deal.

    On harmonization and commonality between the CSeries and the A320, I suppose Airbus can work towards something close to what they’ve achieved between the A330 and A350 lineups.

    • And I think they will just leave it alone.

      All this harmonization is oversold.

      • I don’t see them changing the CS100 or 300, as they are both certified and flying. Too much time, money and confusion, especially for those proposing the flight control laws be revised.

        I do wonder what the plan would be going forward. Would they try to harmonize a potential 500 & 700 with the Airbus family?

        Obvious advantages and disadvantages to that.

  13. There seems to be agreement that an CS500 could be a “goodie”, don’t know what specs are on the table but guess it will be an ~4/5 row stretch (155-160 seats) and range around 2800Nm to keep with the current PW1500G’s thrust?

    The current tariffs are on aircraft build in Canada between 100-150 seats, so could the CS5 then be build in Canada and exported to the US without tariffs?

    Also, is the proposed AB plant in Alabama intended for the CS1/3’s and/or US airlines only?

  14. Could airbardeir wangle a couple of extra $million per plane out of Delta? After all the investment that airbus is proposing to make building a new production line is going to save them a vast amount of money.This cash could then be spent on maturing the product before Delta takes delivery. Win win.

  15. ….and eventually, the 330-900 is flying.

    If they could just fix that nose, put an CS/350 like nose on her?

  16. Your enemy’s enemy is your friend. Never truer than now. Airbus has suddenly become a white night galloping to the defence of poor little Bomby. All they have to do next is slay the Dragon.

    • The market is a duopoly and will remain that way. No dragon slaying required 😉

      • The Dragon is coming from the East, can remember laughing at Japanese cars 50 years ago, “Jap c…b”, and now, Jank “j…k”.

        Will be after my time but Boeing and Airbus won’t rule the skies in 40 years from now?

  17. A question I have that I have not seen addressed is about branding. Will the CS100 and CS300 still be branded “Bombardier” or will they be branded Airbus? The ATR remains a separate brand but Airbus only has a 50% share in ATR while they will have a 50.01% share in this new JV.

      • Airbus has 50.1% of the C series, not 50.1% of BBD aviation.

        Regulators would not allow them to control both ATR and Q400 anyway.

        The only reason this flies is that BBD is under the Airbus market and they may have to officially give up production on the A318 and A319.

  18. Airbus will have a lot of trouble to get the CS 100 and 300 fixed and sold.
    Don’t forget, most airlines already ordered their new SA,
    and Airbus got the most of it.
    Tendency was clearly from 150PAX to 200+ PAX, resulting in a little stretch Boeing made with their Max and Airbus selling plenty of A321neos.

    So Airbus now has an incompaible modern Airplane in 100-150 PAX.
    To get that manufactured, etc. isn’t an easy job.

    Of course it sounds decent on paper, with the Cs300 up tp 160 pax you have a decent competitor for B737-8/200max. Both can’t load containers, so A320neo has a USP on both.
    And you got it for free.

    Everybody knows B737max is in a dog position, the inferior product. Still Boeing sold plenty of them, taking 40-45% of market.
    Airbus has a huge task with CS integration, and it’s issues in widebodies – A380 isn’t selling at all, A330neo not going well and also A350 especially 1000 version isn’t a match against B777x.
    Boeing is after that B787 desaster better with widebodies, though B777x may be too big for most customers, but B787 selling well, as B737max is loosing.
    Bombardier is out of business – CS was the most modern programm, CRJ and Q series are old and do need some rework, so it might be the end of building planes.
    Also trains are not running well.

    • 150-200 Seats is the biggie at the moment but the dogs fighting for this bone is getting more, C919 and MC21’s will have an impact in the long run as well as CS500.

      If the 160/180 market size requirements increase there is the 321 and possible 322, if it implodes there could be CS3/5. If it stays the same there could be the 320+. So what size NSA will Boeing build first?

      If AB bites the bullet and go for an 787-8 size MoM it could be fun. Or Kiss, build an “all new” plastic mid-ranger with ultra-fans based on the 330-200 fuselage and NEO cabin/interior? Could fly before the “797”.

      • Sash: You don’t seem to get that the C series is a fully complete and in production aircraft.

        Shifting where its assembled is not a big deal.

        Having two places its made speeds up the deliveries.

  19. The last sentences of JL are very significant. From this unwanted competition by Boeing, let’s understand this: There will be no competition for airlines in the single-aisle sector. If the latter hoped, in the future, a little more competition with the arrival of Bombardier, it is now over. So, in a way, in their eyes, it’s Boeing’s fault. The next time air companies buy such products from Boeing, there will be someone in front of them who will ask for more money. With smile. I am not sure that all the leaders of the airlines will appreciate. Yes, yes, only profit matters, but again: a trusting business relationship is more than just money. For questions of principle, and not to have cognitive dissonance, some will make the deliberate choice to buy at Airbus. Which, sooner or later, will hurt Boeing. And the first ones to do it, it will be Delta. We can easily imagine Boeing as a legal person who will remain scarred, stigmatized by this episode marked by pride and delirium of any power. By dint of making weapons, no doubt they have wanted to try some. Be that as it may, in 2030-40, it would not be surprising to see Boeing create a wholly-owned subsidiary for its commercial component and list its shares on the stock exchange while changing that name, which in the popular imagination, risk of becoming unsightly. Boeing, in the future, a simple but big arms dealer?

    • I think Boeing should stick to the 25 year plan from 2010. Make the MAX to buy time and accept 40% of the market. Build a successful NMA as a 757/767 replacement by 2025. Fly a new single aisle in 2035 with a CFRP fuselage.

    • If airliners really cared about competition, the CSeries would have probably received more orders than they have.

    • Arms focus was the plan when they merged with MD. But they still lost out on the JSF and while they are still not doing bad with every thing else, they aren’t quite ready to bow out of commercial. That will still be a long way down the road and maybe there will be a change in strategic outlook at the top before it gets that far.

  20. I think the Delta deal was always built in some way on a segue to the CS500. Ten years from now, a two step fleet of CS500 and A321neo for Delta, JetBlue, and others?

    • Can see an A32X cockpit evolving into having more commonalities with CS’s?

      • People keep coming back to that like its a have to.

        I flew nothing bigger than a C-172, but I landed an MD-11 simulator good enough that the Trainer asked me if I had flown big iron before.

        The Basics are the same, systems can be learned.

        • I am also from that era, but I am not so sure about this glass boxes. If the oil pressure gauge drops on a round dial you just give it a few slaps and its all good again.

  21. On a similar note, was in the front (3 rows 2-2) in a very old white tail B727-200. Nose wheel not fully deploying, broke the seal below the floor just behind the cockpit and helped the flight engineer to pump it down. That was flying (captain told passengers there were animals on the runway while we were circling).

  22. “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else” . That leaves us with engineering.
    Airbus has an immense task on it’s hands getting the C series up to speed and down to cost,and it has a fairly narrow window of opportunity to do it before it gets whacked by a sledge hammer NSA, at least at the top end.
    Have BBD lost all their engineers and stopped developing the C series? The Canadian government also has work to do keeping the program moving. This might mean even more help (cash)

    • The way things are looking, I would say that sledgehammer NSA is going to have a foam head!

      • I have long been predicting 2018 for NSA launch, starting at the top A321 /757. I refuse to believe that Boeing are stupid enough to not be well on the way developing this already.

  23. Ron: “History is replete with stagnated aircraft projects where those items were never synchronized and Canada has more than its fair share.”

    I am curious. Could you expand on that a bit please?

    • They had North America’s first jet airliner (sorry, I can’t remember the model number) that never gained traction, the fighter that was discussed earlier. I remember seeing a book long ago on Avro’s failed projects. Sorry if I overstated it and offended anybody.

      • It was the AVRO C102 Jetliner.

        The program was cancelled due to pressure to concentrate ressources on the all weather intercepter CF-100.

        The Jetliner was 13 days behind the British Comet.

  24. Will Airbus and Bombardier be able to start building the Mobile assembly line for CSeries even before the deal is officially closed (which will be only at end of 2018) ?

    • Subject to a specific agreement Airbus/BBD for it, it’s quite possible to get the second CSeries FAL in Mobile rolling ahead of the final agreement.

      It’s my understanding that BBD alone has to pay for that second FAL. (As opposed to the partnership). Airbus would here, be a supplier to BBD – in leasing some current Mobile facilities / workers.

      However, I suspect they would wait for legal clarity (on access to the US market) before spending money on this second FAL. (As it would be more cost efficient to complete first the production ramp up in Mirabel – up to 140 planes / year)

      At the end of the day, a second FAL will be required anyway (CSeries will certainly sell more than 140 units / year at some point)

      Additional US sales would also accelerate the decision process on Mobile.

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