Pontifications: Big sigh of relief at Bombardier

Hamilton KING5_2

By Scott Hamilton

May 2, 2016, © Leeham Co.: To say that the order from Delta Air Lines last Thursday for 75+50 CS100s with conversion rights to the CS300s was welcome news for Bombardier is an understatement.

Bombardier has a superb airplane in the C Series. The passenger seats are the most comfortable coach seats of any manufacturers, better than the Airbus A320 and way more comfortable than the Boeing 737. With apologies to Embraer, the C Series is even marginally better than the Embraer E-Jet, which is very good. Read more

Bombardier’s onerous $500m loss demystified

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription required


May 2, 2016, © Leeham Co: Bombardier announced a game-changing order from Delta Air Lines for its C Series program last week. In the midst of the celebration and well wishing came the news that this order, one to Air Canada and seven firmed up options to airBaltic, would result in a charge of $500m next quarter.

CS100 for Delta

Figure 1. C Series in the livery from Delta Air Lines. Source: Bombardier.

One analyst wrote in the wake of the Delta deal that “I understand that to get Delta and Air Canada you need to give attractive pricing, but that it would cost Bombardier $500m is a bit stiff.”

The comment shows that at least this analyst had no idea about the realities of aircraft programs financials. The announced onerous loss is nothing special; it is business as usual.


  • Bombardier’s accounting is according to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) rules. These say that one must announce the results of a contract on the company’s financials at the time of contract closure.
  • Consequently, BBD informed in the 1Q2016 report that: “In conjunction with the closing of these firm purchase agreements, we expect to record an onerous contract provision of approximately $500 million as a special item in the second quarter of 2016.
  • Note that it says “provision” and not loss. Further, the provision will have no effect on 2016 profits or cash flow. This is a non-cash charge.
  • In fact, the $500m provision is nothing special; it’s part of business as usual. We explain why.

Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: C Series flight controls

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

29April 2016, ©. Leeham Co: With the order by Delta Air Lines, the Bombardier C Series has taken the step up to be a viable alternative to Airbus’ and Boeing’s single aisle 130-150 seat aircraft.

In my description of airliners’ flight control and Flight Management Systems (FMS), I have focused on the established mainline single aisle players. Time to change that; C Series has arrived and will stay in the mainline segment.

Why 130 seats as a limit? Because below 130 seats there are a number of additional players (Embraer, Sukhoi, Mitsubishi…) and we can’t describe them all right now.

Now to how Bombardier has implemented the flight controls, autopilot and FMS for the C Series. In fact, we will look at how they have made the C Series cockpit, Figure 1.

C Series flight deck

Figure 1. C Series flight deck. Source: Bombardier.

I haven’t flown the C Series yet (working on it!) but I have been able to glean quite a bit over time and spent quite some time in the cockpit with the Bombardier test pilots at the Paris Air Show.

So here is a shot at describing the C Series control philosophies and capabilities and how they mimic/differ from Airbus and Boeing.

Read more

Bombardier: Our turnaround plan is gaining traction

Alain Bellemare, CEO of Bombardier. CTV photo via Google images.

April 28, 2016: “Our turnaround plan is gaining traction,” said Alain Bellemare, BBD CEO, to lead off the first quarter earnings report for Bombardier.

“This is a big win for Bombardier,” he said. “This is a strong endorsement for the C Series.” He said BBD is finalizing the agreement with Air Canada for 45 firm orders and 30 options for the CS300. “We significantly improved the quality of the backlog list.

“Looking ahead, we are seeing increased customer interest in C Series,” Bellemare said.

The Air Canada, Air Baltic and Delta orders will result in a 2Q2016 charge of $500m, or nearly $4m per aircraft, BBD announced in its press release. This means the aircraft were sold at a loss, but the gain of these blue chip customers were needed. This is about the learning curve and unit accounting (see below).

Delta deliveries begin in 2018.

Belleman said the C Series will be the largest driver of future growth for BBD.

The CRJ and Q400 saw soft orders in the first quarter. Bellemare sees a stronger second quarter. He vowed increased attention by management this year.

Read more

Bombardier wins breakthrough C Series order, from Delta

April 28, 2016, (c) Leeham Co.: At long last, after years of disappointment for that big, breakthrough order, Bombardier finally got it: a huge deal from a blue chip

Delta Air Lines ordered 75 CS100s and optioned 50 more. This is the breakthrough order Bombardier has been waiting years to receive. Source: Delta Air Lines.

airline, and one from North America: a firm order for 75 C30S100s and options for 50 more from Delta Air Lines.

Delta has conversion rights to the CS300. Bombardier now has more than 300 firm orders, although many of these are iffy, and commitments for up to 500 more.

This is the order that observers, analysts and aviation geeks have been waiting for during much of the development and production of the C Series.

The announcement came concurrently with highlights of BBD’s first quarter results.

Read more

737-7X, 737-10 studies illustrate Boeing weakness in single-aisle market

Subscription Required


Boeing LogoApril 27, 2016 © Leeham Co.: News that Boeing plans to develop a “737-7.5” MAX, following on the prospect of a “737-10” stretch of the 737-9 illustrates just how weak its single aisle product strategy has become.

The Wall Street Journal revealed last week that Boeing is planning the airplane, which is larger than the current 737-7 but smaller than the 737-8. Jon Ostrower, the reporter, dubbed the plane the 737-7.5. Internally, it’s called the 737-7X.


  • The 737-7 MAX has proved a sales dud. There are just 60 orders from two established airlines, Southwest and WestJet, and one start-up carrier that ordered just five.
  • Bombardier appears on the cusp of landing an order from Delta Air Lines for up to 125 CS300s, the direct competitor to the 7 MAX, but this is only one element in Boeing’s consideration to grow into the “7.5.”
  • Rather than being a growth of the 7 MAX, the 7.5 will be a shrink of the 737-8. This is a less costly and more efficient method for Boeing, but shrinks are never the best solution for the operator.
  • LNC reported in February that Boeing had decided to recommit to the 7 MAX after nearly losing an order to Bombardier for the C Series. Instead, UAL ordered the 737-700 at an unusually low price and other considerations. Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, called the deal a blocking move to BBD. The 7.5 appears to be the course Boeing has chosen.
  • Pursuit of a 737-10, a stretch of the 737-9 that may include a new wing, larger engines and other changes, is an acknowledgement the 737-9 is losing the battle for this size aircraft to the Airbus A321neo. But Boeing’s challenges to develop a 737-10 are vexing. More than a year ago, LNC outlined these.

Read more

Pontifications: Earnings week for Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer

Hamilton KING5_2

By Scott Hamilton

April 25, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer having their first quarter earnings call this week. Bombardier also has its Annual General Meeting concurrent with its 1Q earnings on Friday.

The big anticipation will be with Bombardier.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Delta Air Lines was going to order 75+50 C Series from BBD. Delta, on its 1Q earnings call, said it had nothing to announce but would have more to say at its investors day. This is May 16.

But at the same time, BBD postponed its AGM and 1Q call from the 28th to the 29th. Delta’s board of directors meets on the 28th. Previously, BBD postponed by one day its year-end earnings call to coincide with Air Canada, which announced an order for 45 C Series, plus options.

Is Bombardier’s rescheduling another harbinger of the Delta order, or will Delta hold off any announcement until that May 16 investors day?

Or could Delta announce the Bombardier order Friday and the widely reported, expected order for 30-37 Airbus A321ceos?

The world aviation geeks wonder.

Read more

Bombardier’s Delta deal looking good, but don’t celebrate yet

Subscription Required


Air Baltic CS300

Air Baltic will be the first operator of the Bombardier CS300. Source: Bombardier.

April 18, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Bombardier, if it didn’t dominate the news cycle in commercial aviation last week, must have come close. Consider:

  • The Wall Street Journal, and then Bloomberg, reported that BBD was near to winning a big order for 75+50 from Delta Air Lines for its C Series.
  • Reuters reported that BBD rejected demands from the Canadian federal government in Ottawa as conditions for investing US$1bn in the company. (Officials tried to walk this back some, saying talks continue.)
  • The head of corporate strategy for BBD came forward to forcefully argue for the investment as good for taxpayers, breaking what largely has been a cone of silence over the perceived merits of a deal
  • The US$1bn the Quebec provincial government agreed to invest last year remains unfunded.
  • BBD stock, which last year dropped to less than C$1, threatening the listings on the Canadian exchanges, jumped to C$1.75 at one point in anticipation of a Delta order.

While on balance, it seems likely Delta will order the C Series, Bombardier has been down this road before. Only a few months ago, the market and others were excited over the prospect that BBD was close to landing an order from United Airlines, only to see Boeing swoop in and grab the deal.


  • This is the second try at a major contract with Delta Air Lines.
  • The primary competition is against Embraer, not Airbus or Boeing.
  • We revisit our Skyline Risk Assessment, dormant for the extended period in which BBD had no sales of the C Series.

Read more

Can Bombardier extend CS300 to a CS500?

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription required


April 14, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Bombardier is working hard to get additional mainline airline customers for its C Series project. The latest discussion is whether Delta Air Lines would replace its fleet of Boeing MD-88s with the C Series.


Figure 1. C Series largest model, CS300. Source: Bombardier.

In this context, it’s also discussed if the largest model, the CS300, Figure 1, is large enough for Delta. This aircraft seats 135 passengers in a two class configuration and up to 160 passengers in an all economy high density version.

The question is whether this is sufficient for Delta and other mainline customers, or if a still larger version is needed in the program, the oft-discussed CS500. We decided to use our proprietary aircraft model to see if a CS500 would be straight forward for Bombardier to develop, should Delta or any other customer ask for a three model C Series program.


  • The C Series aircraft program was developed with the CS300 as the main model. The wing, engine and landing gear were dimensioned with the CS300 in mind.
  • The CS100 is a shrink of the CS300, and not vice versa (the CS300 a stretch of the CS100).
  • A tentative CS500 stretch if therefore a first stretch of the program’s main model and not a double stretch of a CS100.
  • This is evident when one starts to analyze how a CS500 would be designed. There are rather modest changes that need to be done to create an extended model that seat up to 180 passengers.

Read more

Trends in cabin amenities

By Bjorn Fehrm

05 April 2016, ©. Leeham Co: We are at the Aircraft Interior eXpo, AIX 2016, to check out what’s new where the aircraft meets the passenger. We got to the expo in Hamburg on a full Lufthansa A320 flight. It was the usual struggle for the last passengers boarding to find place for their roller bags in the overhead bins.

Airbus showed the new overhead bins for the A320 at the show, Figure 1. They will be a big relief for the airlines and passengers, just like the Space-bins announced by Boeing at last year’s show.

Airbus new A320 overhead bins

Figure 1. Airbus new A320 overhead bins. Photo: Leeham News.

As can be seen in the picture the passengers don’t get quite the nice airy feeling which is part of Boeing’s Sky interior. The shape of the bins are rather like the present day product but with the A350 style curvature to the other section.

It thereby will bring a bit lighter feel to the cabin but most importantly more space for carry on luggage. Roller bags can be stored standing on the side and this increases the capacity with over 50%. The first delivery of the new bins was to Delta for their new A321 last month. As can be seen in the picture mood LED lighting is also part of the A320 cabin upgrade. Read more