Bombardier Are Planning For Something Big
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07:15 - July 7, 2017 - Quebec, Canada
And you, what are you planning for next Christmas?
Yes I know, it's a bit early to ask this question. But believe it or not Bombardier are already planning something. Something BIG! Some of you might think at this time that they are probably planning to throw a big party for their employees, the biggest Christmas party ever in the history of the company.
Unfortunately no, for that will have to wait for the successful completion of the five-year recovery plan in 2020. Or maybe you think they are planning to erect the tallest Christmas tree ever. Definitely not, because that is the prerogative of the City of New York. Think of something bigger than the Eiffel tower.
Bombardier are planning for THE IMPOSSIBLE: to deliver between 30 and 35 C Series before the end of the year.
For Bombardier it will be like climbing Mont Everest on the North Face. The probability is that they will either slip all the way down or run out of oxygen, but one way or another they are not going to make it.
When Fred Cromer, President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, says that Bombardier still plans to deliver between 30 and 35 airplanes before the end of the year, he is as credible as the Russians would be if they said they were still planning to go to the Moon before the end of this decade.
That reminds me when Pierre Beaudoin, the former Bombardier CEO, repeatedly said that the C Series would make its maiden flight before the end of the year. And this lasted for two consecutive years. In fact Beaudoin could have been right all along, because he never mentioned which year he had in mind...
The truth is that so far this year Bombardier have delivered only seven aircraft in the first six months. But what is little known to the outside world is that Bombardier experienced the same problems as Airbus did, and with the same suppliers: Pratt & Whitney and Zodiac. Some people apparently well informed say that the problems Bombardier had with these suppliers are now behind them. Well, I will believe it when I see it. What I foresee instead is a string of unfulfilled promesses until the end of this year.
As I write this there is a total of 14 C Series aircraft in service. The first seven of them were delivered in the last six months of 2016, and as I mentioned before the last seven were delivered in the first six months of 2017. That is an average of approximately 1.2 aircraft per month. But this does not truly reflect reality. Let's examine the situation month by month.
Deliveries for 2016–2017
2016: June – 1; July – 0; August – 1; September – 0; October – 1; November – 1; December – 22017: January – 0; February – 0; March – 2; April – 1; May – 2; June – 2
In March we start to see a trend towards a rate of 2 per month, and I think it is fair to say now that Bombardier are presently at rate 2 with the C Series.
But at least 23 airplanes remain to be delivered before the end of the year if Bombardier are to reach their delivery goal.
I personally think they already know that this is impossible. But they want us to believe that indeed it is. And I know many people who still think that Bombardier can make it. But like we say in French, l'amour est aveugle (love is blind).
Let's face it, there are less than six months left before Christmas. In fact there are exactly 25 weeks left until the end of the year. And since they still have at least 23 airplanes to deliver, this suggests an average of one aircraft per week. But we have to subtract from that number the four weeks of vacation the employees still have to take between now and the end of the year: three weeks starting at the end of July, plus one more week at the end of December.
Which means there are only 21 weeks left to deliver a minimum of 23 airplanes. That represents a 4.75 rate or more, when we were barely at rate 2 at the end of June.
However, Bombardier are taking extraordinary measures to overcome their delivery problems. For instance, they are subcontracting some aircraft, which are scheduled to have their interiors completed outside by a third party(*). The most obvious reason for doing this is that they are trying to pick up the slack in the delivery schedule. But the way I view the situation this measure may create congestion in Preflight. Because now the flight line will be fed by two finishing lines instead of only one like before.
The consequence of this is that Bombardier could end up displacing the problem instead of solving it.
So what should we expect in terms of deliveries this year? I have done various calculations on my yellow pad and they all more or less lead to the same figure: 25. Actually my initial expectations were for 20-25 aircraft for the entire year. But as I watched the situation evolve I moved my expectations up a little, and at one time they were as high as 25-30. However I now think this is a little optimistic.
The best wishes we could offer Bombardier for Christmas are that they deliver on their promises… next year.
(*) CSeries Production Update - 3rd Party Involvement and more...
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