Bombardier took its C Series narrowbody to the Singapore Airshow still basking in the glow of its recent victory in the antidumping case Boeing filed with U.S. antitrust regulators over the sale of 50 CS100s to Delta Air Lines. Speaking with AIN at the show Tuesday, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft senior vice president Colin Bole admitted to feeling “pleasantly surprised” by the U.S. International Trade Commission ruling in favor of Bombardier, as well as gratified that justice prevailed.
“You certainly sensed the overall industry feeling that the decision could have gone Boeing’s way. But we were very pleasantly surprised and even more happily surprised by the unanimous nature of the vote,” Bole told AIN in reference to the 4-to-0 decision by the USITC panel. “But for sure it has created positive sentiment in the industry. There was inevitably a veil of uncertainty because of this complaint, and we’ve had unanimous enthusiasm, I would say, from airlines, industry onlookers and other stakeholders.”
With the distraction “gone away,” as Bole put it, Bombardier can return to focusing on the planned joint venture with Airbus that calls for the airplanes destined for the U.S. market to be built on the site of the A320 assembly facility in Mobile, Alabama.
Bole would not comment on persisting uncertainty over the timing of Delta Air Line’s first delivery, however. The U.S. airline had planned to take delivery of its first CS100 this spring, but when Airbus agreed in mid-October to take a majority stake in the C Series program, it looked as though Delta would have to accept a delay in deliveries while it built the new U.S. assembly facility. Now, the unexpected USITC ruling in favor of Bombardier means that Delta can take airplanes built in Mirabel, Quebec, the site of the primary C Series line. However, neither Airbus nor Bombardier have indicated whether or not a victory in the antidumping dispute would mean a change in plans for the source of Delta’s airplanes.
For now, Bombardier can turn more of its attention to the Asia-Pacific region, where Korean Air began flying its first CS300 some two weeks ago. Having now taken delivery of two out of 10 airplanes on order, KAL has reported not a glitch in its early EIS experience, said Bole. In a written statement, KAL affirmed Bole’s account.
“With over 250 flight cycles completed since its entry-in-service, we are very impressed by the performance and reliability of our new CS300 aircraft,” said KAL chief technology officer Soo-Keun Lee. “Thanks to the Bombardier team onsite who have worked in close collaboration with our team, the new fleet integration has been smooth so far.”
Although its sees a gradual path toward acceptance in the Asia-Pacific region, where larger narrowbodies have saturated the market, Bombardier fully expects to gain another Asian customer by the end of the year. “I would be disappointed if we did not get an order in this region this year,” concluded Bole.