Bombardier fell short of its most recent delivery target for its C Series last year, ferrying 17 of the narrowbodies out of the 20 to 22 it cited in a November estimate, the company confirmed. In fact, delivery targets became progressively less ambitious as the year wore on, as delays associated with the airplane's Pratt & Whitney PW1500G turbofans forced management to revise the numbers from 30 to 25 and, finally, to the most recent estimate.
A Bombardier spokesperson told AIN that the company would reveal more information about the specifics behind the adjustment when it announces earnings results in Feburary. The company’s current delivery target for 2018 amounts to 40 CS100s and CS300s.
Speaking in early November during the company’s third-quarter earnings call, Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare explained that Pratt & Whitney had held back delivery of the geared turbofans for new-production airplanes to concentrate on shipping spares to existing Airbus A320 operators that have experienced endurance deficiencies involving the engines’ combustor liners. Pratt & Whitney planned to finish testing fixes for the engines during November and December and begin applying them early this year.
Of 24 C Series airplanes delivered since the start of the program, Bombardier shipped seven during the first two quarters of last year, followed by five in the third quarter and five in the fourth quarter. Korean Air took delivery of its first two CS300s on December 22 and December 30. Given the original expectation of between 30 and 35 deliveries for 2017, Bombardier had expected to see at least a $300 million revenue shortfall resulting from the adjustment to between 20 and 22 deliveries, reported Bombardier CFO John Di Bert, who added that Pratt & Whitney has promised cash advances for the fourth quarter to support excess aircraft inventories at Bombardier’s Mirabel plant generated by the engine delays.
For next year, Di Bert said Bombardier would take a “disciplined” approach to the production ramp, most likely delivering between 40 and 45 airplanes out of an originally projected total of 45 to 55. “We need to do a little bit more work with Pratt. We’ve go to figure out the sequence and the scheduling of engines into the next year,” said Di Bert during the November call. “At this point in time, what’s obviously very positive is we’re working with customers very closely. The aircraft in 2018 are all backed by customer orders that are firm.”