It looks like Bombardier has finally realised that it needs to do more with product support in Asia.
The Canadian aircraft-maker announced yesterday that it plans to get Fokker Services to support its Dash 8 and Q-series aircraft around the globe. The only exception is that Bombardier will continue to keep Q400 product support because this aircraft - unlike the others - is still in production.Bombardier says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Fokker Services and plans to sign a firm deal later this year.
This is a global deal but it has particular significance in Asia, where Bombardier's major turboprop competitor ATR has pretty much been capturing the market. But having Fokker in its camp gives Bombardier a huge boost in Asia.
Fokker may have stopped making aircraft more than a decade ago, but there are still heaps of Fokker aircraft operating in this part of the world and, as a consequence, Fokker has strong relationships with many of the region's carriers.
Fokker also has a maintenance, repair and overhaul centre in Singapore - Fokker Services Asia - that serves the entire region. And it is staffed by a team of product support and sales people, some of which - such as Fokker Services Asia regional director Michael Cole - formerly worked for Bombardier.
Another step that Bombardier is taking to boost its presence in Asia is - and I'm surprised they didn't do it earlier - is to actually have commercial aircraft sales people based in Asia. It already has a few in China but Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Gary Scott says they plan to station commercial aircraft sales people in other parts of Asia starting later this year or next year. "We are living in a global economy and it is hard to manage everything out of Toronto or Montreal," says Scott.