Why it was inevitable that Bombardier’s shot at the sky brought the Canadian giant down
Fatally, the plane maker failed to foresee the reaction of the global aerospace duopoly
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February 27, 2020 - by Peggy Hollinger for financialpost.com
"The business of making and selling aeroplanes is not for the fainthearted . . . In deciding to build a new airliner, a manufacturer is literally betting the company."
The opening lines of The Sporty Game, John Newhouse's definitive history of the commercial aerospace industry, were written in 1982 when Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Airbus Industrie were battling for dominance of the skies. Being sporty is the industry's euphemism to describe the mammoth gamble that each new aircraft represents.
Almost 40 years later, Canada's Bombardier Inc has proved the truth of his words.
The company's audacious attempt to move into the high stakes world of passenger jets left it with crippling debt and forced a fire sale of assets that this week culminated in the decision to sell its US$8 billion-a-year train manufacturing business to Alstom of France.
Just over a week ago, the company finally sold...