Bombardier should mull AT unit sale to China as backup plan: analyst

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Facing "an uncertain future" with its commercial aviation business Bombardier should consider selling the unit to China as "a backup plan", suggests Teal Group's vice-president analysis Richard Aboulafia.

"The CRJ line is gradually fading out, and the CSeries remains an enormous gamble. It still doesn't have a launch user, and there are just two airline customers after three years of trying," said Aboulafia in an April online note.

"Worse, Airbus's Neo is using the CSeries as a punching bag. With Airbus accelerating the A319neo and going after Republic [Airways Holdings], there's a risk the CSeries remains a marginalised product."

The analyst said that if he was in charge at Bombardier he'd consider formulating a backup plan. "Like so many other marginal programmes before, that backup plan might be to use China as an exit strategy for the company's commercial aerospace unit."

Bombardier and China's Comac recently partnered to explore commonalities between the Canadian-designed CSeries and the C919 developed in China.

"Selling the commercial aerospace unit to China would be like sending their underperforming kid to LA to try to get a job in the movies," adds Aboulafia.