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.

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What has Airbus got in the CSeries?

By Bjorn Fehrm

October 18, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Bombardier and Airbus changed the airliner landscape yesterday. Analysts say it’s the largest industry change since Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997.

So, what has Airbus bought for no money? A me-too, or a world-beater?

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Assessing the Airbus-Bombardier deal

Oct. 17, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Airbus-Bombardier transaction announced yesterday has implications well beyond the United States, which has been much of the focus of analysis post-announcement.

The analysis focused on the US is natural, given the Boeing trade complaint involving the CSeries sale to Delta Air Lines.

But it’s important to step back to see what this means for CSeries.

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Pontifications: Playing catch-up

Oct. 9, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Recent weeks have been dominated by the news of the Boeing-Bombardier trade complaint. More is to come before and after the end of the year.

It’s time to catch up on some other news.

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To Kill a Better Bird

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Introduction

Oct. 12, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing’s brash and controversial move to file the trade complaint with the US Department of Commerce is a bold gamble designed to kill the Bombardier CSeries entirely, not just block it from the US market, people familiar with the strategy tell LNC.

The threat Boeing fears from the CSeries is not really about the 737-700 or 7 MAX, they say, but truly about the future of the 737-800 and 8 MAX.

While Boeing as clear in its filings with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and Department of Commerce (DOC) about the alleged threats, some insight to Boeing’s thinking explained by people familiar with the situation was provided.

Summary
  • Boeing hopes blocking the CSeries out of the US market will have a ricochet effect on Bombardier’s pricing strategy elsewhere.
  • With a higher price, Boeing believes it can successfully compete head-to-head in acquisition campaigns.
  • Boeing’s fear is really about the CS300 dragging down the price against the 7 MAX, which will have a cascading effect on the 8 MAX.

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US declared Bombardier impeded trade probe, uncooperative and found dumping as a result

Oct. 10, 2017: The US Department of Commerce concluded Bombardier was uncooperative, didn’t answer its questions and impeded the trade investigation in the Boeing complaint.

Accordingly, under US law, Commerce could draw negative conclusions toward Bombardier and found it “guilty” (our word) of violating anti-dumping laws in its sale of the CS100 to Delta Air Lines.

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US finds “dumping,” adds 80% tariff to CSeries

Here it is, the press release from the US. The tariff is what Boeing originally asked for, 79.82%. A far higher one was expected, following last week’s subsidy determination.

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Next shoe in Bombardier trade complaint to drop tomorrow

Oct. 3, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The other shoe in the Boeing-Bombardier trade complaint is to drop Wednesday when the US Department of Commerce makes its decision whether Boeing suffered harm, or there is a threat of harm, in the CS100 order by Delta Air Lines.

Bombardier CS100 ordered by Delta Air Lines.

The DOC last week determined that Bombardier received illegal subsidies dating to the 2008 program launch of the CSeries, through the 2016 equity investments by the provincial government of Quebec and the federal government of Canada. Certain tax breaks were also deemed illegal subsidies by the DOC.

The determination was expected, even by Bombardier. But the DOC shocked the global aviation community by levying a 220% tariff. The rate is preliminary and won’t be finalized until next year, but absent some extraordinary event, it’s expected to be confirmed—followed by lengthy appeals.

The decision Wednesday relates to harm, or anti-dumping in legal terms. Here’s where the aviation community and observers, except for one who is prominent and who receives funding from Boeing, universally believe there is no case.

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Monarch ceases operations

Oct. 1, 2017, (c) Leeham Co.: Monarch Airlines ceased operations today (Oct. 2 in the UK) when its operating license was withdrawn and an Administrator appointed, the BBC reported.

Monarch Airlines Airbus A320. BBC photo via Google images.

The airline has 32 Boeing 737-8 MAXes on order. It operated a fleet of 34 Airbus A320s/A321s. Principal lessors are AerCap and Aviation Capital Group, according to the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker.

Given the current trade war between Boeing and Bombardier, there may be a sigh of relief in Montreal. Boeing beat out Bombardier in winning the MAX 8 order against the CS300 in 2014.

American wants to decide A350 fate within six months

Sept. 28, 2017, © Leeham Co., Grapevine (TX): American Airlines would like to decide within six months what it will do with its order for 22 Airbus A350-900s, a left-over deal from US Airways before the latter acquired the former.

Derek Kerr, EVP and CFO, told LNC on the sidelines of American’s investors/media day here in a Dallas suburb that the A350s were intended to replace US Airways’ A330s. The airline ordered 22 of the airplanes.

American, however, selected the Boeing 787-8/9 for its mid-size, long haul fleet, ordering 74 42. The new American deferred delivery of the A350s to 2020 and Kerr said a deadline is approaching to decide what to do with the order.

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