Less than a year after the inaugural flight of its CS100, Bombardier is no longer in a euphoric state ; since then, the Canadian manufacturer has undergone a string of setbacks. The following recalls the recent months’ key events.
On January 20, during the presentation of its business results, Bombardier announced a 19% drop in its aircraft orders received in 2013. This reduction would have serious consequences.
The following day, the Canadian industrial group announced the elimination of 1,700 jobs in its aerospace division. 1,100 in Canada, and 600 in the United States.
On May 29, during static maintenance activities on the ground, there was an incident with one of the Pratt & Whitney engines on a test CS100. We have no more details but the problem was serious enough for Bombardier to decide, at the time of the investigation, to suspend flight tests on all its four prototypes. Today, after a three month break, no resumption date has been announced.
Following this incident, the cost of further development of the programme is estimated at $ 1 billion. With only 330 out of the 2,400 hours of flight tests on the clock, certification of the CS100, together with the first deliveries, normally expected in the second half 2015, inevitably had to be postponed.
On July 25 the CEO Pierre Beaudoin announced the cut-back of 1,800 other positions in their administrative services by the end of the year. One way, according to Bombardier, to reduce costs in order to gain "agility and flexibility", to the extent that the aviation branch will be split into three separate entities. Within six months, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer, will thus, have lightened its aerospace workforce by more than 9%.
Executives of Bombardier were not spared either by the departures. Between 25 and 28 August, three Vice-Presidents were thanked for their services; they were : in charge of Public Affairs (Hélène Gagnon), Strategy (Michael McAdoo) and Marketing (Philippe Poutissou). Bombardier Aerospace President Guy Hachey, himself was called upon to take an early retirement.
On August 29, Braathens Aviation, which was expected to be the first C-Series operator, asked Bombardier to modify the delivery schedule. The Swedish airline obviously does not want to be the first to fly the new aircraft any more.
A series of nasty events which should end quickly. When telephoned, Bombardier announced the resumption of the CS100 flight testing in the coming weeks. The problem on the engine has been identified and is about to be resolved. Good news for customers of the C-Series, which at this stage amounts to over 500 purchase intentions.