Bombardier says it will name by Christmas a replacement for Gary Scott, who retired as president of the airframer's commercial aircraft arm on 1 October. However, Guy Hachey, president of Bombardier Aerospace, suggested the role might be split, with one executive heading the CSeries programme and Hachey himself continuing to head the legacy CRJ and Q400 business.
Speaking to analysts and media at the National Business Aviation Convention in Las Vegas on 11 October, Hachey said the CSeries programme was "on track" for an "end of 2013" entry into service (EIS), with first flight "12 months earlier", but "we have used a lot of our contingency in terms of time". He added: "We are holding onto our EIS, but we are under pressure."
The Canadian airframer is on schedule to start ground testing of a range of systems at the Mirabel production plant "early next year or late this year", he said.
Hachey also said he believes Bombardier's CRJ product line has "another decade of good business" before the airframer has to decide whether to "phase out" the regional jet family or invest in a successor. However, he suggested an all-new regional jet was unlikely.
"To reinvest in that platform will be a big decision for later in the decade but I think there will be other priorities," he said.
Bombardier is also still looking at developing a larger 90-seat turboprop, said Hachey, but "a Q400X is in that second tier of our priorities". He said many customers were asking for a bigger, more powerful Q400 but the company was "trying to understand the size of the market" before committing. "We need to make sure there is enough volume to justify that investment. We have a lot on our plate," he said.
He added that the current Q400's six months without orders was "only temporary", and that the pipeline of interest suggested that sales would pick up soon.