2019 Outlook: Will Bombardier exit Commercial aircraft?

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Introduction

December 27, 2018, © Leeham News.: In July the CSeries changed from Bombardier to Airbus and in November the Q400 program was sold to Viking Air, the buyer of de Havilland Canada aircraft from Bombardier like the Twin Otter and the water bomber CL415.

When the Viking Air deal closes in the second half of 2019, only the CRJ regional jet will make up Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. Will the CRJ stay with Bombardier or go? And if so, why?

Summary:
  • With other divisions increasing revenues amid healthy margins, the loss-making Commercial Aircraft’s time was up. It’s future hope, the CSeries, was digging an ever deeper cost hole with each delay. Only a market success could save it.
  • The Boeing trade complaint in April 2017 made a success far-fetched, sealing the fate not only for the CSeries but for the Commercial Aircraft division.
  • With the CSeries at Airbus and Q400 at Viking Air, why keep the CRJ? It makes no sense. The CRJ is presently dressed for sale. Now it’s more a question to whom and when.

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2019 Outlook: leaving Airbus’ troubled year behind

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

December 19, 2018, © Leeham News.: Next year is a time when Airbus hopes to leave its troubled 2018 behind.

But 2018 was also when the company wanted to leave the troubles of 2017 behind it.

Not only did 2018 not improve. In a number of ways it turned worse.

Engineless A320neos at Toulouse Airport. Airbus hopes this is a thing of the past. Photo via Google images.

Turmoil in the management ranks brought back memories of the politically infested Airbus of 20 years ago. And there were other issues.

Production problems with the A320 continued. The A330neo was further delayed and the A380 order from Emirates to save the program took forever to materialize. The negotiations to fix the contracts for A400M couldn’t be brought to a close.

There were two bright lights in the year. The A350 was now out of its cabin supplier problems and delivering aircraft to plan. The other was the gift from Boeing’s suing Bombardier and its CSeries the year before. The top modern Bombardier CS100/300 became Airbus A220 on the first of July. Price tag; $1 for 50.01% of the program.

Summary
  • Changes in executives are almost over.
  • Pratt & Whitney’s engine delivery delays are caught up and CFM’s delays are diminishing.
  • Production ramp ups are peaking (for now) and deliveries should be at a record rate next year.
  • Airbus is waiting for Boeing to decide whether to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft.

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Pontifications: Nordic quietly rises to #4 world lessor

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: In the world of commercial aviation, GECAS, Avolon, AerCap, Air Lease Corp and BOC Aviation are among the most recognizable names of lessors.

These companies make headlines with large orders of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Air Lease is headed by Steven Udvar-Hazy and John Plueger, giants of the aircraft leasing business.

But one lessor quietly, below the radar, has become one of the largest lessors in terms of aircraft count pursuing regional aircraft, a product mostly shunned by the biggest lessors.

Nordic Aviation Capital Embraer E190-E2. Source: Nordic.

Nordic Aviation Capital last year ranked tied for fifth with asset manager BBAM, each with 404 airplanes in their portfolios, according to an Airfinance Journal 2017 survey. GECAS, AerCap, Avolon and SMBC Aviation Capital were bigger.

DAE Capital of Dubai, BOC Aviation, Air Lease Corp and Aviation Capital Group rounded out the top 10. Read more

Pontifications: Writing had been on the wall for years for Q400 sale; CRJ is next

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 12, 2018, © Leeham News: The writing had really been on the wall for the past few years, regardless what the corporate line was: Bombardier was one day going to sell the Q400 program or shut it down.

Better to sell it and get at least some money out of it, no matter how small.

Bombardier agreed to sell the program to British Columbia-based Viking Air for a mere $300m–$250m, net of fees.

Ditto the CRJ program. It’s on life support. It’s a design dating to the 1980s, the passenger experience has long been eclipsed by the Embraer E-Jet and it will be also by Mitsubishi’s MRJ when this jet finally comes on line in 2020. Read more

Bombardier announces sale of Q400 program, exploring options for CRJ

Nov. 8, 2018, © Leeham News: Bombardier today announced the sale of its slow-selling, aging Q400 turboprop program to Canada’s Viking Air.

  • The press release from Viking’s parent company is here.

Viking previously purchased out-of-production Bombardier/de Havilland aircraft programs, including the Twin Otter, Beaver and CL-415 firefighting bomber.

Viking Air previously purchased the Bombardier de Havilland Twin Otter program and restarted production. Now, it’s buying the slow-selling Q400 program for a mere $300m. Photo via Google images.

Twin Otter production was restarted. The Beaver was not an is not in the cards to be restarted. The CL-415 was limping along, and no longer a contributor to Bombardier’s cash flow and profits.

“The Company entered into definitive agreements for the sale of the Q Series aircraft program and de Havilland trademark to a wholly owned subsidiary of Longview Aviation Capital Corp. for approximately $300m,” Bombardier said in a press release. It also announced the sale of other assets for $800m. The two deals are expected to close in the second half of 2019.

The low price reflects the struggles the Q400 has had for years. Bombardier lost money on the Q400 in recent years.

Bombardier also said it is considering its options for the aging, struggling CRJ program. Read more

Bombardier squeezed by ATR, Embraer, Mitsubishi

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Introduction

Oct. 22, 2018, © Leeham News: Bombardier has a firm backlog of 67 Q400 turboprops. ATR has a backlog of 256 through Oct. 20, according to the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker.

This is an 80% market share for ATR.

Bombardier has 83 CRJ jets of all models in backlog. Embraer has 442 orders for all E-Jet models. Mitsubishi has 213 firm orders for its MRJ70/90.

This is just an 11% market share for the CRJ.

These figures illustrate why the market doubts Bombardier’s long-term future in commercial aerospace.

Summary
  • The Q400 and CRJ are aging aircraft designs.
  • Minor enhancements don’t address the underlying issues.
  • New competition is squeezing BBD.

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With a month to elections, Embraer bolsters backlog

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Introduction

Sept. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: With the Brazilian elections less than a month away, the outcome of the presidential race will determine whether the proposed joint venture between Embraer and Boeing will be approved.

Embraer is Brazil’s most visible and prestigious international company. The government has a “golden share,” giving it veto power over certain transactions, including the Boeing deal. Boeing will own 80% of the new JV that will be for EMB’s commercial business only. Embraer will own 20%.

The incumbent government says it will approve the joint venture; the opposition party says it will veto the deal.

Summary

Including orders, options and LOIs:

  • Production slots are oversold through 2023.
  • The skyline quality has some challenges.
  • Only three dozen firm orders were announced at Farnborough; the balance has to be firmed up.

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Pontifications: Boeing aid to Jet Airways uncommon but not unusual

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 27, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing is giving financial help to India’s Jet Airways, according to a news report.

This doesn’t come as a surprise.

Jet Airways has 225 737 MAXes on order (50 direct, the rest listed via lessors). It’s also in what appears to be dire financial straits.

Media reports indicated the airline was possibly going to be out of business in 60 days and it deferred releasing its financial results “indefinitely.” The government is going to probe the airline, according to a press report.

The Boeing aid is not common but it’s not unknown, either.

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Analysis: Bombardier continues to improve Q400 model

By Olivier Bonnassies

Aug. 21, 2018, © Airfinance Journal: Bombardier Commercial Aircraft is gradually introducing more features in its Q400 turboprop aircraft as the Canadian manufacturer continues to see appetite in the 70-90-seat market.

Improvements under development include a 2,000lb increase in payload capacity. The model’s current maximum payload is 18,716lb, while maximum take-off weight varies between 61,700lb and 67,200lb.

Other changes the manufacturer is introducing include the extension of A-check and C-check intervals from 600/6,000 to 800/8,000 flight hours, giving a 20% direct maintenance cost saving.

Bombardier Q400. Source: Bombardier.

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Pontifications: Workforce shortage hurts entire supply chain

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 20, 2018, © Leeham News: A growing shortage of workers is exacerbating pressure on suppliers as they struggle to meet current aircraft production rates, even as Airbus and Boeing want to raise them even more.

Add to this the thousands of retirements facing the OEMs in the next 5-10 years, and you can see the strain facing Airbus, Boeing, the engine makers and the suppliers feeding into them.

It also partly explains the shifting trend toward automation. Setting aside the obvious benefits of automation—quality control, accuracy, boring repetitive work, etc—the supply chain in simply facing a growing shortage of workers for which there is no easy answer.

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