CEO says future of Bombardier's regional jet depends on beefing up backlog
MONTREAL - The head of Bombardier Inc. says the continuation of its regional jet program hinges on whether the company can fill up the CRJ’s partly blank order book.
Alain Bellemare says the plane-and-train maker is trying to keep the product line going, pointing to only two major competitors for regional jets. But a backlog of 54 CRJ 900 planes extends only through the end of next year, he says, leading Bombardier to reassess its options.
Once a cash cow for the Montreal-based company, the CRJ now loses money, Bellemare has said. For the past five years Embraer SA’s E175 narrow-body aircraft has dominated the U.S. market, where the majority of regional jets are sold.
Quebec’s economy minister has said the government is prepared to work with Bombardier if it needs help with its regional jet program, though Premier Francois Legault has stated that likely won’t involve financial support for the jetliner.
Bombardier is placing renewed focus on its business jets, whose robust sales and high earnings margin in 2018 propelled the company to its first annual profit in five years.
In July, the company sold a majority share of its C Series commercial aircraft program to Europe’s Airbus SE which rebranded it the Airbus A220.
Companies in this story: (TSX: BBD.B)