The ongoing weakness in the regional jet sector has prompted Bombardier to consider another reduction in CRJ production and possible job cuts. Meanwhile, the Canadian airframer is ramping up investment in its new CSeries twinjet, as it prepares for the next phase of development.

Bombardier Aerospace chief operating officer Guy Hachey confirms that the company has not yet filled out the CRJ's "entire skyline" - that is, the production plan - and is working with customers "to advance or delay a number of deliveries".

A decision on production will need to be made in the next month or two, he adds, and acknowledges that there could be a further reduction in personnel.

CSeries, Republic Airways
 © Bombardier

During Bombardier's 2010 fiscal year, which ended on 31 January, the airframer announced production rate cuts for all business and regional jets to counter its falling order backlog. Despite that, its airliner production rose 10% to 121 aircraft, but going forward the airframer expects to deliver around 15% and 20% fewer business and commercial aircraft, respectively, in FY2011.

During FY2010 CRJ output averaged five a month, and at the end of the year the backlog stood at 108 aircraft.

On the commercial side alone, Bombardier secured net orders during FY2010 for just 22 CRJs along with 16 Q400 turboprops. Last year's successful launch of the CSeries saw the new twinjet gain 50 firm orders.

Investment in product development will double this fiscal year to over $1.2 billion, the bulk of which will be accounted for by the CSeries. Bombardier says it is months away from transitioning to the detail design phase for the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-powered aircraft, at which point the design will be frozen.

Construction of the CSeries training facility at its Mirabel plant in Montreal is due to be finished in the second quarter, as is a new aircraft wing manufacturing and assembly facility in Belfast.

Source: Flight International