Any future partnership between Bombardier and Sukhoi is likely to be on a narrowbody mainline airliner project rather than a regional jet, it has been revealed.
In January the Canadian manufacturer suspended development work on its planned 110- to 135-seat CSeries twinjet after failing to secure launch orders. However, the project could be revived in partnership with Russian, or possibly Chinese, collaboration later in the decade, says Bombardier Regional Aircraft vice-president of marketing Trung Ngo.
“The view clearly is that Sukhoi’s Russian Regional Jet at 65- to 95 seats is similar to the CRJ family, so we would not envisage collaboration there, but rather on something larger,” says Ngo.
Bombardier says it will keep all options open, adding that it now has the “luxury of time” to finalise partnerships and study possible configurations. The Sukhoi-led RRJ consortium plans to deliver the RRJ-95 to Aeroflot in November 2008. After this date the Russian manufacturer would have capacity to study new areas such as CSeries successor involvement.
Bombardier cannot cancel the CSeries project outright, as it has received government launch aid pledges including £180 million ($316 million) from the UK to secure advanced composites work at the airframer’s Belfast facility.
JUSTIN WASTNAGE / BELFAST
Source: Flight International