Bombardier Aerospace’s efforts to cultivate closer ties with the Chinese commercial aircraft industry continued last week with the official opening of a new office in Shanghai, now the home base of the Canadian company’s partnership with China’s Comac. The new office, which Bombardier plans to staff with some 50 employees, will also serve as the base of operations for the company’s supply-chain organization in China and headquarters of the Bombardier Commercial Aircraft sales and marketing team for China and North Asia. It will also house the existing Shanghai regional support office team, supporting Bombardier Q Series and CRJ operators, and plans call for staffing to expand to include support personnel for the company’s business jet operators.
Bombardier Aerospace president and COO Guy Hachey, Bombardier China president Jianwei Zhang, head of Bombardier Aerospace China Albert Li and vice president of sales for China and North Asia Andy Solem hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site. The new location will serve as the home office for Li and Solem.
A series of recent announcements signaling Bombardier’s deepening penetration into the Chinese market included the signing last month of a definitive agreement with Comac to establish “commonalities” between the C Series and C919. The manufacturers agreed to cooperate on human-machine cockpit interfaces, the electrical system, the development of aluminum-lithium alloy standards and customer services, including technical publications. The companies said they expect to complete the four projects over the next year in conjunction with the C919 development schedule.
The definitive agreement marks the implementation of the first phase of a long-term strategic cooperation outlined by a so-called framework agreement signed in March 2011. The parties said they will continue exploring other possibilities for cooperation on program commonalities such as joint procurement, development “synergies” and customer services.
The deal followed a separate agreement reached between Bombardier Aerospace and Avic International Leasing calling for expanded cooperation in the field of financing of commercial aircraft sales in China and globally. The MOU, signed during a visit in February by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Beijing, accompanied an announcement that China Express Airlines will become the first Chinese customer for the Bombardier CRJ900 regional jet. The conditional order for six dual-class-configured CRJ900s plus options on another five, signed late last year, will give Bombardier its first sale of a new commercial airplane in China in “eight or nine years.”
Bombardier predicts a demand for almost 2,400 commercial aircraft in the 60- to 149-seat segment in China over the next 20 years, making it the world’s second largest market for new aircraft deliveries, following closely behind the U.S.