While Bombardier is moving fast and furious to get its CSeries specs in sweet order, the company is also making strides on another CSeries-related front - it is getting its support network for the now five-variant family into shape.
Discussions with Bombardier's owned service centres and authorized service facilities "are just happening now" but the airframer is expected to take a much more comprehensive - and integrated - approach with the CSeries MRO programme than it has with past commercial products, says Mike Kanaley, VP and general manager of fleet management and service programmes for Bombardier's services division, who was kind enough to chat with me about the Canadian airframer's MRO activities for a new Flight feature.
He says the company is looking at who will be the likely CSeries MRO service providers, as well as "working intimately with our suppliers manufacturing the aircraft to ensure overhaul capabilities are in place, and support of the aircraft from start to finish".
Boeing, of course, has already been developing its GoldCare programme to give a single contact point for 787 customers. Boeing's vice president, 787 services and support for the 787 programme, Robert Avery says he would not be surprised if Bombardier or Embraer offer similar programmes to GoldCare. "I think it can be and probably will be adapted for regionals."
The most integrated maintenance contract ever brokered between an airframer and an airline involved Airbus and now-defunct Skybus Airlines. Skybus asked Airbus and Boeing to proffer packages that would combine the purchase of new aircraft with cost-per-hour maintenance services well in advance of the carrier's mid-2007 launch. Skybus ultimately awarded Airbus a contract for 65 A319s that included integrated maintenance services. While Airbus took responsibility for the airline's maintenance, the airframer tapped Singapore Technologies Aerospace's (ST Aero)
Bombardier would be prepared to offer a similar total support programme agreed between Airbus and Skybus should the need arise. "[Whether] another Skybus comes along and wants that capability in our new product [such as the CSeries] remains to be seen. But, if so, it's our obligation to find a way to make that work for both Bombardier and the customer," says Kanaley. "We also don't pretend that it's all going to be performed by Bombardier. We'd leverage our supplier networks and our leverage these, and if that works for the customer, that works for us."
In many ways, however, this more integrated business model is what Bombardier intends to pursue aggressively with its future products. And once you've aligned the supply chain and service delivery network, "it has the potential to be back-fitted into certainly the existing product lines", says Kanaley.
Photo above from the Solid Gold Dance Connection gallary at http://www.sgdanceconnection.com/gallery.html