Bombardier will suspend production of the CRJ200 regional jet in January in the face of a rapidly declining order backlog, as the increasing cost of fuel pushes demand away from the 50-seat jets towards larger regional jets and turboprops.

The company is aiming to offset partially the temporary closure by restarting production of its 415 water bomber, as well as by the increased output of Bombardier business aircraft. Production of the Challenger 850 corporate shuttle version of the CRJ200 is not affected.

Bombardier had already decided to slash CRJ200 output to 18 units in its next financial year, and says that the decision to suspend production entirely “will result in the implementation of the remaining 660 of the 1,135 layoffs announced in August”. The company adds that its total aircraft deliveries for its fiscal year 2005-6 “will remain, as planned, at roughly the same as [the 329 delivered in] the last fiscal year”.

Commenting on the suspension, Pierre Beaudoin, president and chief operating officer at Bombardier Aerospace, says that the company’s drive to increase profitability means “making difficult, but necessary, decisions”.

Source: Flight International