Record numbers of orders last year indicated a short supply of available aircraft as the world’s airlines began to recover from the global recession of the early 2000s. This was good news for those with used aircraft on their hands–at least until most demand had been met, at which point placing remaining capacity became a challenge.
Canada’s Bombardier Aerospace (Hall 3 Stand D8) enters this Farnborough show with some critical questions to answer about the future of its regional airliner business. Operating under a cloud of speculation and conjecture since it announced its decision to shelve the once-heralded C Series project in January, the company continues to contemplate its next course of action.
When Embraer decided to enter the business jet market after the successful launch of a family of regional airliners in the 1990s, the company’s chief executive had a clear vision for the future. Mauricio Botelho–the man who led Embraer’s resurgence after the Brazilian government privatized the company in 1994–was determined that Embraer also be a significant force in the market for business jets, and not merely a niche player.
Bombardier Aerospace announced last month it will lay off another 1,330 employees as part of a plan to “realign” regional aircraft production rates with market demand. The adjustments will see production of the CRJ700 and CRJ900 cut from 65 to 50 next year and Q Series turboprop output increase from 50 to 65 as a result of a significant rise in Q400 deliveries.
As the industry gathers in Gothenburg for this year’s general assembly, the ERA will certainly lament the absence of one of its stalwart airline members from Scandinavia–even if its passengers have taken little notice.
The growing Russian market for business aircraft prompted western manufacturers to expand their presence at the MAKS airshow, held recently at Ramenskoye Aerodrome near Moscow.
It seems hard to reconcile the rather dark and anxious tone of this year’s Regional Airline Association convention with double-digit margins and record revenues. Listening to airline delegates speak at this year’s get-together, one got the distinct impression they knew something the rest of us didn’t. In fact, regional airlines have been waiting for the day the gravy train of guaranteed RJ profits derailed.
UK Corporate Jet Services, parent company of Southampton-based executive charter operator Club328, has purchased bankrupt regional aircraft manufacturer AvCraft Aerospace. The new owner will not be resuming aircraft production, but will instead run the former property of U.S. support and completions firm AvCraft Aviation as a support organization for existing Dornier 328 operators under the name 328 Support Services.
Canadian manufacturer Bombardier has the considerable task of supporting some 5,200 aircraft of many types, from vintage Series 20 Learjets to the latest Global Expresses, plus regional airliners and amphibian bombers. This involves more than 120,000 different spare parts that must be shipped on short notice to service centers around the world.
Slower-than-anticipated growth of regional air transport markets in Asia has apparently reached the consciousness of market prognosticators at Embraer, whose latest 20-year forecast for deliveries of small commercial jets reflects a less optimistic outlook for both China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.