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Bombardier commercial aviation faces 'challenging time': Embraer

Bombardier's commercial aviation business faces a "challenging time" after its divestiture of two of its three commercial aircraft divisions, says Embraer Commercial Aviation chief executive John Slattery.

The Montreal-based airframer finalised a deal to sell the Dash 8 programme to Longview Aviation Capital, an affiliate of Viking Air, for $300 million earlier in November, and closed the sale of a majority stake in its CSeries – now A220 – programme to Airbus in July. This leaves just the venerable CRJ programme in its commercial aviation portfolio.

"Now you're left with [the] CRJs of which, I think, they probably have about 50 aircraft in the backlog," said Slattery at the ISTAT Latin America Forum in Lima on 15 November. "It's difficult to have a real performing sales, marketing and support organisation, along with sustainable engineering to support a dwindling backlog."

A dwindling backlog, he adds, means fewer pre-delivery deposits (PDPs) that are the "life blood" of an OEM, providing funds to continue business.

"It's clearly a challenging time in Mirabel right now," says Slattery.

Bombardier, for its part, has made no pretence of remaining in the commercial aircraft business.

"Bombardier is well positioned with our rail, business aircraft and aero-structures business," the airframer's chief executive Alain Bellemare told analysts and investors earlier in November. "In the future, this will be where we will deploy our capital to [ensure] strong return on investment."

The CRJ programme, he said, was a money loser for Bombardier and, while they continue to participate in the regional aircraft market, they were "exploring strategic options".

Even if the airframer sells the CRJ programme, 1,412 aircraft remain in service around the world, Fleets Analyzer shows.

Asked whether Embraer could be interested in acquiring the CRJ, Slattery says unequivocally no.

"We have our family of aircraft," he says. "We're not trying to buy the CRJ in any scenario."

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