Building a final assembly line could be “the next logical step” for Bombardier in China, the president of its commercial aircraft division believes.
Speaking with Flightglobal, Mike Arcamone said a large amount of manufacturing for its Q400 and CSeries is already being done in China. AVIC's Shenyang Aircraft Corporation makes the forward, mid and aft fuselage for the Q400 and the centre fuselage for the CSeries.
“We have the supply base and manufacturing footprint already in China and maybe one day the next logical step would be to put all the parts together, not only a final completion centre, but a real final line where we do the full assembly," says Arcamone.
He says that, while Bombardier is “very keen” to develop a final assembly line in China, this will only happen if there are enough orders to justify such an investment.
“Currently we can still supply [the aircraft] from North America. But if there is a market that requires a certain amount on a yearly basis, we'll do the economics and, if it makes sense, we'll put in a final line,” says Arcamone. No discussions have been started with possible joint venture partners.
The airframer had been looking at a Russian assembly line but the project has been put aside in the fallout over Russia's conflict with Ukraine.
There are currently 35 CRJs flying in China. The Canadian airframer has also achieved some success in China recently, comprising orders for 25 CRJ900s from China Express Airlines and a letter of intent for 30 Q400s from Nantong Tongzhou Bay Aviation Industry - to be operated by start-up Sutong Airlines.
Loong Air has also inked a letter of intent for 20 CSeries while CDB Leasing has a conditional purchase agreement for 15 of the type plus 15 options.
China imposes an up to 24% import tax for aircraft below 90 seats, effectively preventing foreign manufacturers from competing in the market. There are no Bombardier or ATR turboprops in China, while China has its own AVIC Xian Aircraft MA60 and MA600.
Source: Cirium Dashboard